Pages tagged "'archcoal"

Time for France’s Biggest Bank to Stop Funding Mountaintop Removal Coal

This post is by Ben Collins of RAN and Yann Louvel of BankTrack.

The campaign to stop bank financing of mountaintop removal coal mining is gaining momentum.

For years, RAN and other organizations in the global BankTrack network have urged U.S. and European banks to stop financing the devastation caused by mountaintop removal (MTR) coal mining. BankTrack members have worked closely with advocates from Appalachia — the region hardest hit by MTR — including Paul Corbit Brown and Elise Keaton from Keeper of the Mountains, and Bob Kincaid from Coal River Mountain Watch. Together, they’ve travelled around the U.S. and Europe to speak directly to CEOs and boards of banks at their annual shareholder meetings and urge them to stop bankrolling mountaintop removal coal mining.

This week, we have an opportunity to push France’s biggest bank, Crédit Agricole, to stop profiting from MTR once and for all. At today’s annual shareholder meeting, Paul Corbit Brown and staff from Friends of the Earth France urged the bank’s CEO, Jean-Paul Chifflet, to follow the lead of other banks and stop funding the biggest and most destructive MTR companies.

Take action: Now’s the time to back them up — please add your voice now! GFC_MTR_crop 

Public pressure to stop funding MTR started showing results a few years ago. U.S. banks were the first to react in 2008, adopting a mix of enhanced due diligence procedures and financing thresholds for companies that engage in mountaintop removal. But real change started to happen last year, when Wells Fargo in the U.S., and Crédit Agricole and BNP Paribas in France, adopted new policies on MTR. These covered both direct project financing of MTR projects — which is pretty rare — and, more importantly, general corporate financing of coal mining companies active in MTR.

The implications of these new policies are potentially huge: the biggest and most harmful producers of MTR coal, such as Alpha Natural Resources and Arch Coal, raise their funding from general corporate loans from banks or from bonds or shares issued to investors. And these are precisely the transactions that should be excluded by these new policies, which bar financing for companies that are “significant” producers of MTR coal.

But we’ve learned that different banks define "significant" in wildly different ways. BNP Paribas blacklists the main companies active in MTR production, including Alpha and Arch. But Crédit Agricole — while its policy looks similar to BNP’s on paper — excludes only those coal mining companies that produce more than 20% of their coal from MTR. In practice, they aren’t prohibited from doing business with any MTR companies at all!

Take action: Will you tell Crédit Agricole Jean-Paul Chifflet to close the bank’s huge MTR loophole?

Crédit Agricole has financed several loan and bond deals for Alpha and Arch — the worst of the worst MTR companies — while BNP Paribas hasn’t done any deals with these two companies since last year. Ironically for Crédit Agricole, financing MTR has not only been bad for the environment and human rights — it’s also been a bad investment. The bank suffered significant financial losses from loans it made to recently-bankrupt MTR miner Trinity Coal.

In contrast to Crédit Agricole, other U.S. and European banks have taken concrete steps away from MTR financing this spring. Last month, JPMorgan Chase published an update of its environmental and social policy framework, stating that they expected to continue defunding companies engaged in mountaintop mining. And in the U.K., Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS) published a mining policy update prohibiting deals with the main MTR producers. Unlike Crédit Agricole’s new policy, these policy changes at JPMorgan Chase and RBS have teeth: both banks will stop financing top MTR producers, including Alpha and Arch.

Today, our allies went straight to Crédit Agricole’s annual shareholder meeting to tell the bank’s CEO and board close its massive MTR loophole, and stop funding Alpha and Arch.

Take action: We have Crédit Agricole's attention — will you add your voice?

Yann Louvel, Climate and Energy Campaign Coordinator, BankTrack
Ben Collins, Research and Policy Campaigner, Rainforest Action Network

Arch Coal Applies For Permit To Mine Otter Creek As Coal Export Action Continues

Last night the story broke that Arch Coal has officially applied for its permits to strip mine Otter Creek in southeast Montana. The Otter Creek Mine would turn the area into a massive coal mining operation with new roads, rail lines and polluted waterways, should Arch be granted the permits.
Some details about Arch Coal and Otter Creek:
  • The proposed Otter Creek Mine, which sits between two national forests, would cover 7,639 acres of state, federal and private land in southeastern Montana.
  • Arch Coal owns the rights to mine approximately 1.5-billion tons of coal in southeastern Montana.
  • In March 2010, St. Louis-based Arch Coal agreed to pay the state of Montana $86 million plus future royalties to mine a half billion tons of coal on state-owned Otter Creek land.
  • The application calls for transporting the coal by rail, but the proposed Tongue River Railroad, which would transfer much of the coal from the Powder River Basin, has yet to gain federal approval. In June the Surface Transportation Board ordered the proposed railroad’s backers to submit a new application. The board also said it will conduct another environmental study of the line proposed between Miles City and Ashland.
This news comes out after two days of successive occupations and sit-in’s at the Montana Capital in protest of the mining of Otter Creek and western coal exports at large. Ten have been arrested so far and the protests are expected to last eight days. “This permit application just shows how important the actions that we’re doing here right now are in order to get citizens out to show mass opposition to Arch Coal’s plan to begin mining at Otter Creek,” said Lowell Chandler, one of the organizers of the Missoula-based Blue Skies Campaign’s protest. The Coal Export Action has organized a diverse coalition of groups and individuals from around the nation, region (15 states at last count), and Montana, all of whom have converged in Helena to protest coal exports. The protests are aimed at stopping coal mined in the Powder River Basin of Montana and Wyoming from being exported through Oregon and Washington mega-ports to Asian energy markets. It was also announced that a proposed terminal in Grays Harbor, WA was cancelled yesterday by RailAmerica, the company that proposed it.

Bank Of America, The Bank Of Coal

Bank of America is the biggest bank in the United States and the sixth largest in the world. With over $2 trillion in assets, branches is 43 states, nearly 300,000 employees, and expanding operations in Asia, Europe the Middle East, Africa, Latin America and Canada, the scale and reach of Bank of America's business is immense. The scale and reach of Bank of America's investments in coal are immense, as well. While the bank claims to take its responsibility for its investments' impacts on the environment and climate seriously in its corporate social responsibility reports, Bank of America is a leading investor in dirty, polluting coal. In fact, over the past two years, Bank of America has invested $4.3 billion in the coal industry, more than any other bank. coalbanksbubblechart_550px Bank of America invests in every dirty aspect of the coal industry, too. The bank routinely underwrites hundreds of millions of dollars in loans to Arch Coal and Peabody Energy, two of the biggest coal mining companies in the Powder River Basin that are desperately trying to secure a West Coast terminal facility to ship coal overseas and export coal pollution to Asia. Bank of America is also invested in companies like Edison International that own the old, dirty Fisk and Crawford Plants in urban Chicago. Investments in major infrastructure projects like coal terminals and existing coal-fired power plants commit us to burning coal for decades to come. It's long past time that Bank of America shift its investment dollars away from coal and toward clean, green renewable energy. RAN is demanding that Bank of America spend Not One More Dollar on coal. Its time that this bank make responsible investments in green energy solutions instead of bankrolling the coal industry. Our demands include:
  • No financing for companies pursuing new coal-fired power plants and life-extending retrofits of existing coal-fired power plants.
  • No financing for companies engaged in mountaintop removal coal mining.
  • No financing for companies pursuing coal export infrastructure.
  • Shift the balance of energy financing to support power generation that is less threatening to our health and environment.
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. Join RAN and help Bank of America become the Bank of Solutions instead of the Bank of Coal! For more information about Bank of America and our efforts to get the bank to stop investing in coal, check out

Join the Dirty Banks “Tour of Shame” at Powershift

Dirty Energy is Over Going to Powershift? Want to stop Big Coal and Big Oil? Aren’t you tired of how Wall Street literally gets away with murder? Then put a little “action” in your life with Rainforest Action Network (action is our middle name, after all.) Please join RAN and friends on Saturday April 16th at 1:00pm outside the DC Convention Center (you can RSVP on Facebook). We’ll lead a “Tour of Shame” through the surrounding business district and take creative direct action against  financiers of dirty energy companies like Arch Coal, Peabody Energy, ExxonMobil, and the coal companies responsible for the destruction of Appalachia’s mountains. Just recently, Portland Rising Tide and 100 Powershift students did the same thing at Bank of America and Wells Fargo branches in downtown Portland. Looks like fun, doesn’t it? [youtube 0DDoqQ7hRIU] Here’s the official invite if you want to tell your friends:
Dirty Energy is Over, Fund the Future Join Us and Put Wall Street on Notice: No More Money for Dirty Coal and Tar Sands Join our campaign to stop the financing of coal and tar sands by Wall Street. Coal and tar sands are the largest sources of greenhouse gas emissions in North America — causing catastrophic climate change, poisoning communities with toxic pollutants and destroying eco-systems with destructive extraction. Join Rainforest Action Network for our banks “Tour of Shame” as we call out the corporate finance behind dirty coal and oil extraction WHEN: Saturday, April 16th at 1pm WHERE: Meet in front of the DC Convention Center at 7th and Mt. Vernon NW CONTACT: Scott at; 415-235-0596 Big Banks — Bank of America, Citi, JPMorgan Chase, Wells Fargo, PNC Bank and Morgan Stanley — raise billions of dollars for the fossil fuel industry every year. It’s time for Wall Street to take responsibility in how their investments affect public health and the climate. Join us on Saturday afternoon and demand a transition in energy financing from dirty coal to clean energy solutions like wind and solar.

Coal Owns Congress: Follow the Money Trail

[caption id="attachment_8046" align="alignleft" width="501" caption="Arch Paid Out These Politicos:"][/caption] Last week you may have heard about how International Coal Group is conspiring to pour money into three key election races in Kentucky and West Virginia. Now you can track which of our elected representatives have already sold out to the coal industry, thanks to this, a new online database from our friends at Oil Change International. Just enter a politician's name, coal company or a zipcode to follow the money trail from coal companies to Congress. Q: Which politicians are taking money from mountaintop removal (MTR) coal companies? A: Who's not? Arch Coal, recipients of the only new permit to create new MTR mines and valley fills since the EPA's 'tough' new guidance was announced, has made financial contributions to more than 100 different Senators and Representatives. These contributions total more than $800,000 and include a substantial $40,300 check to Representative Shelly Capito (R, WV). Patriot Coal, operators of the Hobet MTR mine complex, contributed almost $20,000 to Nick Rahall (D, WV). Rahall has also received monies from CONSOL and Arch. Massey Energy has donated over $20,000, split between eight different politicians. The biggest Massey check went to Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R, KY), who also appears to be the politican most indebted to Big Coal and Oil. Since 1999, Mitch has received a whooping $1,147,558 campaign funding from these industries. No surprises that McConnell is leading the attack on the EPA's attempts to tighten regulations around mountaintop removal mining. Visit, enter your Congress members' names and let us know how much dough they've gotten from ol' King Coal in the Comments section below.

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