Banking on Dirty Energy

You wouldn't believe this is happening in America. One of the biggest environmental disasters in recent history is happening in our own country, and the banking industry is financing it - to the tune of hundreds of millions of dollars every year.

RAN has been turning up the pressure on Wall Street, asking the biggest US banks to stop financing mountaintop removal coal mining, which literally involves blowing the tops off historic Appalachian Mountains and poisoning drinking water to extract a relatively small amount of dirty coal.

High Cost of Cheap Coal

Mountaintop removal, which provides a mere 7 percent of the nation's coal, is done by clear-cutting forests, blowing the tops off of mountains, and then dumping the debris into streambeds. In the process, mountaintop removal poisons essential drinking water supplies and pollutes the air with coal and rock dust - and undeniably catastrophic reality for the people of Appalachia.

Bankrolling an American Tragedy

Since January 2008, nine banks have provided more than $3.9 billion in loans and bond underwriting to companies practicing mountaintop removal coal mining. We urge all private banks involved in commercial lending and investment banking services for the mining sector to end their relationships with the following companies: Massey Energy, Patriot Coal, Alpha Natural Resources, International Coal Group, Arch Coal, CONSOL Energy, TECO Energy and James River Coal.

In response to our campaigning, four of the biggest players on Wall Street: Chase, Bank of America, Morgan Stanley and Citi, have developed environmental due diligence protocols on lending to mountaintop removal mining companies. As with all corporate policies the devil is the details. We will continue to monitor all three banks’ lending to ensure that their positions on mountaintop removal coal mining impacts reality on-the-ground for the people of Appalachia.

The biggest financiers of mountaintop removal mining are currently Swiss bank, UBS who, since January 2008, has provided more than $275 million of finacing to MTR companies and Philadelphia-based PNC, who has provided over $80 million in finacing to the MTR sector.

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Two years ago no bank had a policy on coal mining, and Wall Street was providing finance and credit indiscriminately to the most destructive form of mining in the country. Bank of America, Citi, Morgan Stanley, Credit Suisse, JPMorgan Chase, and Wells Fargo have successively passed public policies limiting their financial relationships with coal operators that practice mountaintop removal (MTR) coal mining.