Rainforest Action Network has been campaigning against JPMorgan Chase for some time, trying to get the giant bank to stop bankrolling mountaintop removal. The San Francisco based group of rabble rousers might be now seeing some progress. At its annual general shareholder meeting, JPMorgan Chase released its 2009 Corporate Responsibility Report, which includes its first public statement on financing for MTR. JPMorgan says that it "has undertaken an enhanced review of all proposed banking transactions for companies engaged in MTR....includ[ing] considerations of a company's regulatory compliance history, as well as exposure to future regulatory changes and litigation risks, particularly as they relate to valley fills and water quality issues."Last week, RAN put out a scorecard ranking different banks on their financing for MTR. JPMorgan scored an F because it directly funds MTR projects and its environmental policy does not even mention mountaintop removal coal mining.
The EPA moved on MTR last month when it announced tougher standards for permitting. Administrator Lisa Jackson decided to open up the permitting process for greater transparency and to review the effects of mining on water quality.
Below is RAN's statement in response to JPMorgan's Corporate Responsibility Report.
"Rainforest Action Network is encouraged by JPMorgan's move to address its financing of mountaintop removal coal mining, the devastating practice of blowing up the Appalachian mountains and contaminating drinking for a tiny amount of coal. This is a welcome step forward.
"JPMorgan has joined but not surpassed Bank of America and Citi who both announced financing guidelines on mountaintop removal coal mining in 2008. If JPMorgan wants to lead, instead of follow, on environmental responsibility the way forward is a complete phase-out of mountaintop removal coal financing.
"We are encouraged to see that JPMorgan is no longer financing Massey Energy, the leading MTR company in the country which is currently facing criminal charges for last month's fatal mine explosion. We will continue to monitor JPMorgan's lending to ensure that its new position on mountaintop removal coal mining impacts reality on-the-ground for the people of Appalachia.
"JPMorgan's statements on mountaintop removal coal mining is a testament to the hard work of Appalachian communities and activists across the country, whose collective pressure left JPMorgan with little choice but to begin addressing its support for this devastating form of resource extraction."
More on mountaintop removal:
EPA Approves One New Mountaintop Removal Coal Mine, Finds 'Path Forward' for Second
Ashley Judd on Mountaintop Removal Coal Mining