photo via flickr
Good news from the world of finance. Over the past two years, Bank of America, Citi, JPMorgan Chase, Wells Fargo, Credit Suisse, and Morgan Stanley have adopted policies to limit their financing of companies involved in the practice of mountaintop removal (MTR) coal mining. Wells Fargo is the latest to shift, showing that coal's best days are behind it.Rainforest Action Network (RAN), with its new ED, Rebecca Tarbotten, has led the charge against MTR financing. RAN began campaigning against Bank of America in 200 because it was at the time the lead financier of MTR. Bank of America worked with RAN campaigners to create a public policy, starting the momentum for sector reform. Citi followed two years later and now Wells Fargo has moved.
About 7 percent of the nation's coal comes from MTR. Sierra Club provides a handy permit tracker that allows viewers to see where mountaintop removal projects are in the approval process. The chart has contact information for the companies behind the projects so you can call them and register your displeasure. The site also has a slideshow of MTR projects, which shows how much damage mining does to the landscape. There's a Take Action section, too.
"Money talks - and it is saying loud and clear that mountaintop removal coal mining is a bad investment. With the move away from mountaintop removal coal mining, our country's top banks are showing that they know they can do well while doing good for our environment and our public health. We are seeing a sector-wide shift away from an increasingly controversial practice that is devastating Appalachian communities and the mountains and streams they depend on."
Massey Energy, the owner of the Upper Big Branch mine, which exploded and claimed the lives of 29 miners, has been completely cut off from the big banks. BofA, Citi, and JP Morgan Chase have all severed ties with Massey and its climate change-denying CEO, Don Blankenship.
Currently, PNC and UBS are the lead financiers of MTR.