As outrage at the country’s largest banks increases with the Occupy Movement and record bank customers move money to credit unions and local banks, RAN finds yet another reason customers should be wary of Bank of America. Our campaign briefing, titled Bank of America: Risking Public Health and the Climate brings to light the company as the country’s top financier of the coal industry, and in turn, a leading contributor to climate change in the United States.
In the last two years, the company pumped $4.3 billion into the U.S. coal industry, more than any other bank.
Bank of America is involved in every aspect of the coal mining industry. It routinely underwrites billions to the industry, including hundreds of millions of dollars in loans to Arch Coal and Peabody Energy—the two biggest coal mining companies in the country. Bank of America also under writes billions every year to coal-heavy utility corporations, such as Southern Company and Edison International.
Coal-fired electricity is a scourge on the country’s public health on the scale of tobacco, asbestos, and other industries associated with large-scale human health damages. While toxic industries may deploy aggressive PR campaigns to defend their profits, an eventual reckoning is inevitable, and investors are well advised to avoid such pariahs.
Bank of America has an opportunity to lead the banking industry by developing a comprehensive coal policy that commits the company to shifting its financing away from coal and toward investments in renewable energy.
After more than a decade successfully working to establish environmental policies and practices at the country's top banks, RAN is demanding that Bank of America spend not one more dollar on coal. In particular, RAN is calling on BoA to:
** STOP financing for companies pursuing new coal-fired power plants and life-extending retrofits of existing coal-fired power plants;
** STOP financing for companies engaged in mountaintop removal coal mining;
** STOP financing for companies pursuing coal export infrastructure;
** SHIFT the balance of energy financing to support renewable power generation that is less threatening to our health and environment.