Pages tagged "coal"


Don’t let Big Coal destroy the Great Barrier Reef

Thanks to your pressure, several of the world’s largest banks have said “no” to financing a huge coal project that would put Australia’s Great Barrier Reef at risk.1 But now, news reports have revealed that the U.S. government’s Export-Import Bank is considering financing this destructive project.2

Tell the U.S. government’s Export-Import Bank -- don’t finance the destruction of the Great Barrier Reef!

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This is an outrage: The U.S. government should be investing in climate solutions, not throwing coal a financial lifeline and trashing a global treasure such as the Great Barrier Reef. Even Wall Street thinks the coal industry's plan to build a giant coal port in the middle of the reef is too toxic to fund; late last year, thanks to your activism, Rainforest Action Network secured commitments to steer clear of the project from four of the biggest investment banks on Wall Street. Citibank, JPMorgan Chase, Morgan Stanley, and Goldman Sachs all provided RAN with written promises to stay away from this climate- and reef-killing project.3 If this project is beyond the pale for Wall Street's biggest banks, there's no excuse for the U.S. government to commit taxpayer money to destroy the reef and turbocharge climate change.

Add your voice to our petition calling on the Export-Import Bank not to finance reckless coal port expansion.

We know that our pressure can help to stop the coal industry’s reef destruction. Thanks to your pressure, major banks have publicly committed not to fund this project, because it would be a disaster for the climate, the reef, and their bottom lines. Not only would this perpetuate climate chaos, the proposed Abbot Point expansion could threaten the breeding grounds of endangered green and loggerhead turtles.4 Now, it is time to use our voices to prevent the U.S. government from financing reef destruction.

Momentum is building to stop the coal industry from damaging the Great Barrier Reef. President Obama recently spoke out at a summit, urging Australia to protect the reef.5 Hundreds of thousands of global citizens have spoken out against reef destruction, and a group of ten European and U.S. banks has already walked away from the project. Now we need to make sure the U.S. government says “no” to coal port expansion in the Great Barrier Reef.

Send the message to Fred Hochberg, Chair of the Export-Import Bank: Don’t finance Big Coal’s reef destruction!

As an agency of the U.S. federal government, the Export-Import Bank’s mission is to finance the sale of U.S.-made products, not to finance foreign-owned coal ports across the world. If we speak up, Export-Import Bank chairman Fred Hochberg will hear us. Late last year, Hochberg urged the public to submit feedback about how the bank is doing. Now is the time to send a clear message that the taxpayer-supported Export-Import bank needs to stay away from the coal industry’s Great Barrier Reef destruction.

 

Sources:

1. "US Banks baulk at Abbot Point coal port expansion", The Australian, October 28, 2014
http://www.theaustralian.com.au/business/mining-energy/us-banks-baulk-at-abbot-point-coal-port-expansion/story-e6frg9df-1227104282562

2. "Adani lines up $1 bln Indian state bank loan for Australian coal venture", Reuters, November 17, 2014 
http://www.reuters.com/article/2014/11/17/adani-ent-australia-coal-idUSL3N0T769720141117

3. "US banks vow not to fund Great Barrier Reef coal port, activists say", The Guardian, October 27, 2014 
http://www.theguardian.com/environment/2014/oct/28/us-banks-vow-not-to-fund-great-barrier-reef-coal-port-say-activists

4. "Great Barrier Reef", United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization
http://whc.unesco.org/en/list/154

5. "Barack Obama confronts Australia over climate change", The Telegraph, November 15, 2014 
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/barackobama/11232915/Barack-Obama-confronts-Australia-over-climate-change.html


Export-Import Bank: Don't finance destruction of the Great Barrier Reef

I am alarmed at reports that the U.S. Export-Import Bank is considering funding Australia’s Abbot Point coal port expansion. The port expansion and the coal mines that would feed it would gravely damage the Great Barrier Reef and accelerate climate change. The resultant dredging and ship traffic would threaten one of the world’s most biodiverse ecosystems, a global treasure that is under protection as a World Heritage Site. The deal would pave the way to double coal production in Australia -- already one of the world’s biggest coal exporters -- in the midst of a climate emergency. Under no circumstances should U.S. taxpayer dollars fund this reckless and destructive project. Please make a public commitment not to bankroll the Abbot Point coal port expansion and associated rail and mine infrastructure.

 

Background

The coal industry is embarking on a project that would do grave damage to the Great Barrier Reef by massively expanding the port at Abbot Point and building new coal mines in Queensland, Australia. The resultant dredging and ship traffic would devastate this delicate ecosystem, a global treasure that is under protection as a World Heritage Site. Additionally, the proposed Abbot Point expansion could threaten the breeding grounds of endangered green and loggerhead turtles.

The climate impacts would be catastrophic, as building out Abbot Point would mean a dramatic expansion of coal mining in Australia's Galilee Basin, one of the world's largest stores of carbon. The planned mega-mines would be among the largest in Australia, and would dramatically increase greenhouse gas pollution.

The coal industry needs international bank funding to make their reckless new project happen. Many global banks have already said “no” to financing the project. As a result of campaigning from Rainforest Action Network, U.S. banks Goldman Sachs, JPMorgan Chase, Citigroup and Morgan Stanley have already ruled out financing for Abbot Point. Leading European investment banks, including HSBC, Barclays, and Deutsche Bank have made similar commitments.


Call on the U.S. Export-Import Bank to do the same.

 

Additional Information:

Adani lines up $1 billion SBI loan for Australian coal venture, Reuters, November 17 2014

Great Barrier Reef protection plan 'ignores the threat of climate change', The Guardian, October 27 2014

Great Barrier Reef, Unesco 

 

 



9,585 signatures

One Year Ago Today: West Virginia’s Coal Industry Water Crisis

On January 9th, 2014, over 10,000 gallons of the coal washing chemical MCHM spilled from tanks owned by Freedom Industries on the banks of the Elk River in Charleston, West Virginia. The chemical spill took place upstream from a municipal water intake pipe and contaminated the drinking water of over 300,000 people. If you missed coverage of the crisis last January, Ken Ward has written an extensive retrospective in the Charleston Gazette. Overall, a year after the spill, West Virginians are still fighting to get answers about the health impacts of the spill and prevent future industry-caused water disasters. 

Last month, federal prosecutors filed criminal charges against Freedom Industries and its top executives for negligence that allegedly led to the leak. The former CEO of Freedom, Gary Southern, who infamously sipped from bottled water at a press conference in the aftermath of the spill, would face a maximum of 68 years in prison, if convicted. According to an FBI affidavit, Freedom had known about problems with its chemical tanks and containment dikes for years.

But the executives at Freedom Industries weren’t the only people who failed during the crisis. Charleston’s water utility, West Virginia American Water, as well as the state and federal government have faced widespread criticism for their response to the spill. And a recent study in Environmental Science and Technology concluded that initial recommendations from officials that residents flush their water systems may have exposed people to additional hazards from chemical fumes.

Janet Keating, Executive Director of the Ohio Valley Environmental Coalition marked the anniversary of the spill with an Op-Ed emphasizing the role of grassroots citizen power, which forced a reluctant state government to respond to the crisis and safeguard the state’s drinking water:

"Yet, amidst this crisis, I sensed a political transformation — government responding to the will of the people. For example, during a press briefing about the water crisis, state and federal officials said home testing for MCHM was unnecessary. Yet within a week, citizen pressure prevailed and Gov. Tomblin announced that the state would provide $650,000 to begin home testing of MCHM.

Once the Legislature reconvened, a bill to regulate above-ground storage tanks emerged; it was quickly revealed that representatives of polluting industries had largely authored this legislation which contained a long list of exemptions. No representative of the general public who cared about clean, safe water had been invited to help craft the bill. Thankfully, for two and a half months, the outcry from ordinary citizens was loud and sustained. The public succeeded and the exemptions were removed.

Many who had never been active on environmental issues formed new groups and took part in evening conference calls to plan events. They attended meetings, they marched, they protested and they lined the halls of the state Capitol. They testified at a lengthy public hearing. They formed a broad and active coalition to help safeguard water. This is what a healthy, effective democracy looks like."

A year later, there are troubling signs that a disaster similar to last year’s catastrophic spill could nevertheless happen again. Last month, legislators barely beat back an industry counterattack that would have rolled back the state’s drinking water safety regulations.  And this week, West Virginia’s Department of Environmental Protection disclosed that 1,100 chemical storage tanks in the state had failed inspection and were not fit for service. So even though a groundswell of organized citizen pressure in the aftermath of last year’s spill won reforms to improve the safety of West Virginia’s water supply, there are many more battles ahead for defenders of clean water in Appalachia.


2014 in Review: Big Banks Ditch Mountaintop Removal Coal

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In 2014, leading global banks began to turn away from financing mountaintop removal (MTR) coal mining. For years, RAN and other organizations in Appalachia and around the world have warned banks of the severe human and environmental consequences of financing MTR coal. And finally, banks have begun to respond.

This year, building on commitments from two US banks, Wells Fargo and JPMorgan Chase, several other banks indicated that they would not finance the largest MTR producers. As of this spring, the French bank BNP Paribas had made a similar commitment, followed by the UK-based Royal Bank of Scotland in late Spring. Then, in August, the Swiss bank, UBS indicated that it too would no longer finance major MTR producers. Look for more banks to follow suit in early 2015.

Also in 2014, the environmental and health impacts of MTR became even harder for banks and coal companies to ignore. In March, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the Department of Justice reached a record-setting $227.5 million settlement with Alpha Natural Resources over water contamination at 79 mine sites, which included several MTR mines. Additionally, a study published in October added to a growing body of scientific evidence linking mountaintop removal mining to severe health impacts. The study, conducted by researchers at West Virginia University, found that dust from MTR sites promoted lung cancer tumor growth.  

Financially, the bottom fell out for the U.S. coal industry this year. Facing a trend of U.S. coal plant retirements and stubbornly low coal prices, MTR producers idled, sold, or spun-off mines, and one even filed for bankruptcy. Globally, coal producers fared little better in 2014, facing a sustained slump in global coal prices, fierce competition from renewable energy sources, and broad-based opposition to new coal mines and coal-fired power stations.

Undaunted by this environmental, human, and financial turmoil, a few banks have stubbornly clung on to their financing relationships with MTR producers. For example, Deutsche Bank extracted $2.7 million in fees this year from bankrupt James River Coal for investment banking services. Nevertheless, it is becoming increasingly clear that both MTR producers and the broader coal industry are in deep trouble. As Bob Burton of RenewEconomy noted in his retrospective on 2014, “[e]ach defeat or delay for coal projects, each new scandal or coal-caused disaster, each new report documenting coal’s toll on human health and every incremental fall in the cost of wind and solar brings the coal industry’s day of reckoning ever closer.”


2014 in Review: Goldman Sachs Sacks Coal Terminal Investment

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Your voice was heard.

For communities of the Pacific Northwest, 2014 started off with some good news. On January 7, Goldman Sachs sold off its share in SSA Marine, the corporation behind a colossal coal export terminal proposal near Bellingham, Washington that threatens to ruin the rich biodiversity and unique cultural legacy found in the region. If built, the Gateway Pacific Terminal at Cherry Point would be the largest proposed coal export terminal in the country, with up to 18 mile-long coal trains traveling through local communities every day and nearly 48 million tons of coal exported to Asian markets each year. 

Goldman Sachs’ move away from SSA Marine and their coal terminal came after coal companies and their proponents tabled or dropped three out of six proposed coal export terminals in the Pacific Northwest in the previous two years.

And it would not have happened without you. Starting in 2011, RAN, along with ally organizations and thousands of concerned citizens, called on Goldman Sachs to quit this coal export terminal. By raising our voices about this egregious project and by continually calling out the U.S. banking sector for investing in coal, we showed Goldman Sachs that the Gateway Pacific Terminal was just too hot to handle.

Goldman Sachs’ action was the perfect signal that the terminal’s threats to the climate, human rights, thriving Tribal fisheries and biodiversity in the sensitive Puget Sound marine environment are just too grave to ignore. Proposed coal export terminals in the Pacific Northwest would result in almost as much carbon pollution as the Keystone XL tar sands pipeline. And if the coal companies can’t sell their product abroad, they will be forced to keep it in the ground.


World’s Top Coal-Financing Banks Still Won’t Touch Abbot Point

 

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This week, BankTrack launched their latest report on the top coal-financing banks in the world. The ranking, topped by JPMorgan Chase and Citigroup, includes several other U.S. banks in the top 20 based on their total financing for coal mining and coal-fired power since 2005.  

As the piece we’ve cross-posted below notes, it’s telling that even the top financiers of coal in the world have decided to stay away the proposed coal terminal expansion at Abbot Point on the Great Barrier Reef. But unfortunately, even though most of their competitors have concluded that expanding Abbot Point would be a disaster for the climate and the reef, Bank of America still hasn’t gotten the message.

By Ben Collins (RAN), Yann Louvel (BankTrack) and Julien Vincent (Market Forces), cross-posted from RenewEconomy:

The proposed expansion of the Abbot Point coal export terminal is running out of friends in the banking world. This week’s news that U.S. giants Citigroup, Goldman Sachs, and JPMorgan Chase will not finance the proposed coal export terminals at Abbot Point bring the total number of banks to have made this commitment to nine. Even Morgan Stanley, currently in business with Adani over the partial sale of the existing coal export terminal at Abbot Point, acknowledge the environmental risks associated with the proposed new terminals and won’t provide funding to expand the coal port.

And a new report from global banking watchdog BankTrack underlines the significance of these commitments.

The report lists the top twenty global banks in terms of their investments in the coal industry over the past decade. Leading the list are JPMorgan Chase, Citigroup, the Royal Bank of Scotland and Barclays, having financed the global coal industry to the tune of US$105 billion since 2005.

However, these major coal-funding banks are also doing something good.

They have all signalled that they are not going to fund the proposed expansion of the Abbot Point coal port, the focal point for exports out of what would be a series of new mega coal mines proposed in Queensland’s Galilee Basin.

It says a lot about the unacceptability of the proposals to build two massive new coal export terminals in the Great Barrier Reef World Heritage Area that banks with the strongest record of financing the sector have all opted out. In fact, six of the top ten and nine of the top twenty coal funding banks have now stated that they don’t plan to fund the expansion of Abbot Point, although holdouts such as U.S.-based Bank of America have so far refused to state their position on financing Abbot Point.

Despite poor market conditions, high costs and the massive outpouring of concern over the environmental impacts of their projects, Indian companies GVK and Adani remain hell-bent on opening up the Galilee Basin in Queensland. When we say “mega” coal mines, we really mean it. The smallest is as large as Australia’s biggest operating coal mine and the largest, twice the size. All of the proposals in the Galilee Basin would produce enough coal to chew up 7% of the world’s remaining carbon budget, drastically reducing our chances of keeping a lid on global warming.

Adding insult to environmental injury, the coal would be shipped out through new coal export terminals to be built in the Great Barrier Reef World Heritage Area, turning the region into a coal shipping superhighway. All for the sake of feeding the world dirty and expensive fuel when renewable energy options are already more economically viable.

The more international banks acknowledge that building coal ports in the Great Barrier Reef to massive expand exports is a bridge too far, the sharper it brings Australia’s “big four” banks into focus.

report last week from the Institute for Energy Economics and Financial Analysis confirmed that if the Galilee Basin mega mines are going to go ahead, they would need the support of the likes of ANZ, Commonwealth Bank, NAB and Westpac. Historically, these banks have loaned the most money and taken part in far more fossil fuel deals than any other bank, so their importance to financing the new mega mines and coal export terminals in the Reef is obvious.

So far, the banks have been coy about saying anything about the proposals to expand coal exports through the Great Barrier Reef, falling back on sustainability policies that have, in recent years, seen them lend nearly $20 billion to fossil fuels. It has created an absurd situation where banks headquartered in Paris, London, and New York are doing more to stand up and defend the Reef than Australian banks.

It is already costing the banks. Several thousand customers have so far joined the rapidly growing divestment movement, moving to other banks in protest of the big four’s massive lending to the fossil fuel industry. And thousands more, worth hundreds of millions of dollars, sit in waiting, ready to shift their business based on whether the Australian banks will stand up and defend the Reef or fund its demise.


Groups to Bank of America: Don't Finance Great Barrier Reef Destruction

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

October 30, 2014

 

contact:

Claire Sandberg, Rainforest Action Network, claire@ran.org, 646-641-6431

Joe Smyth, Greenpeace, 831-566-5647, joe.smyth@greenpeace.org

Groups to Bank of America: Don’t Bankroll Reef Destruction

Australian coal port threatens global climate, Great Barrier Reef

San Francisco—An international coalition of groups called on Bank of America to rule out financing the controversial Abbot Point coal port in Queensland, Australia, days after three major U.S. investment banks pledged to steer clear of the project. Citigroup, JPMorgan Chase, and Goldman Sachs all issued public-facing statements vowing not to finance the expansion of Abbot Point, but Bank of America has so far refused to take a position. The project would significantly harm the Great Barrier Reef--construction of the new port would require dredging part of the Great Barrier Reef World Heritage area--and would drive global climate change by drastically increasing carbon emissions.

"Not only do numerous reports show that the Galilee Basin projects are poor investments, but groups in India, such as Conservation Action Trust, have stated that exporting Australian coal to be burnt in India will threaten the health and livelihoods of people in India. These projects are not just bad for people, they are bad business.,” said Sierra Club International Campaign Representative Nicole Ghio.

"Smart investors understand that dumping money into speculative coal mining and export projects makes no sense, especially as the largest coal consuming countries begin to move away from coal to reduce air pollution and carbon emissions," said Kelly Mitchell, Greenpeace USA energy campaign director, "The Abbot Point expansion would serve the interests of a shrinking and desperate coal industry, at the expense of one of the great natural treasures of the world. Bank of America should promise not to finance it, and avoid this risky and extremely controversial coal export proposal."

“We've seen the world's biggest banks in the U.S. and Europe abandon the Abbot Point Coal Port project one by one. These banks understand that financing the project would devastate the Great Barrier Reef and unleash one of the world's largest stores of carbon. Bank of America needs to act responsibly, and commit to not financing the destruction of the Great Barrier Reef as well,” said Paul Ferris, SumOfUs Campaigns Director.

“Bank of America has publicly stated its commitment to accelerate the transition from high-carbon to low-carbon energy societies,” said Alex Levinson, executive director of Pacific Environment. “But if it bankrolls the destructive Abbot Point coal port expansion, the only thing it will accelerate is global climate change.”

“It’s unbelievable that in the midst of a climate emergency, Bank of America would even consider bankrolling a carbon bomb on the scale of the Alberta tar sands. On top of it, Abbot Point poses an immediate threat to one of the world’s most diverse ecosystems, the Great Barrier Reef. Bank of America needs to join the rest of its peers by rejecting this terrible project immediately,” said RAN Climate and Energy Program Director Amanda Starbuck.

Earlier this year, Bank of America proclaimed that “society needs to transition from high-carbon to low-carbon energy, and the bank has a responsibility to accelerate this transition.” Last month, Bank of America CEO Brian Moynihan reiterated the bank’s commitment to climate action when he spoke at the U.N. climate summit in New York. But Bank of America’s stated environmental position clashes starkly with the bank’s refusal to rule out bankrolling the expansion of Abbot Point.

Building a new, larger export facility at Abbot Point is a key component of the plan to dramatically increase coal production in Australia’s Galilee Basin, one of the largest stores of carbon in the world. If the plan goes forward, Australia’s coal exports would likely double, and make the the country the number one coal exporter in the world. The proposed expansion has strong backing from the Australian government, but will require financial support from global investment banks to move ahead. Five major European banks (Deutsche Bank, Royal Bank of Scotland, HSBC, Barclays, and Credit Agricole) publicly ruled out investment in Abbot Point earlier this year after months of campaigning from an international coalition. That group was joined yesterday by U.S. banks Citigroup, JPMorgan Chase, and Goldman Sachs, which issued public-facing statements as evidence of their commitments.


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Tell Bank of America: Don't Finance the Destruction of the Great Barrier Reef

The coal industry is trying to move forward with a deal that would threaten Australia’s treasured Great Barrier Reef and turbocharge climate change—but they can’t do it without major financial backing. Three of the biggest Wall Street investment banks have said they won’t fund the deal.1 But Bank of America won’t commit to staying away.

Tell Bank of America—don’t finance the destruction of the Great Barrier Reef!

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Right now, the coal industry is pushing an incredibly destructive plan: to build out one of the biggest coal ports in the world right in the middle of the Great Barrier Reef. A huge corporation called Adani is attempting to dredge 3 million cubic meters of seabed, wrecking part of the biggest stretch of coral reef in the world and one of the planet’s most biodiverse ecosystems. 

The Great Barrier Reef is home to thousands of species, including the endangered Green Sea Turtle, and it’s a crucial area for humpback whales giving birth and raising their young. Expanding Abbot Point coal terminal and massively increasing dangerous coal ship traffic would put a global treasure—in fact, a protected World Heritage Site—at grave risk.

It would also cook the climate. The coal industry wants to build out Abbot Point so it can dig new mega-mines in a vast reserve called the Galilee Basin. That would double coal production in Australia, already the world’s second-biggest coal exporter. Unbelievably, in the midst of a climate emergency, Bank of America is considering bankrolling a carbon time-bomb on the scale of the Alberta tar sands. 

Without the backing of major financial institutions, this deal cannot go ahead. Tell Bank of America to stay away from the Abbot Point coal port expansion.

For the last two months, RAN has been working behind the scenes, asking the biggest Wall Street investment banks to commit to not finance reef and climate destruction. An international coalition of environmental groups has joined the fight, and tens of thousands of you added your voices to a petition calling on Wall Street to stay away from this reckless deal. 

Your pressure is working! In the last three weeks, we’ve won public commitments from three of the biggest Wall Street banks—Goldman Sachs, JPMorgan Chase, and Citigroup—to not finance the Abbot Point terminal expansion.

But Bank of America is still holding out. Tell them to commit: don’t fund a deal that would wreck the Great Barrier Reef and cook the climate!


RAN to Bank of America: Don’t Bankroll Reef Destruction

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

October 28, 2014

 

contact:

Claire Sandberg, claire@ran.org, 646-641-6431

 

RAN to Bank of America: Don’t Bankroll Reef Destruction

Australian coal port threatens global climate, Great Barrier Reef

 

San Francisco—Rainforest Action Network (RAN) called on Bank of America to rule out financing the controversial Abbot Point coal port in Queensland, Australia, a day after three major U.S. investment banks pledged to steer clear of the project. Citigroup, JPMorgan Chase, and Goldman Sachs all assured RAN in writing that they would not finance the expansion of Abbot Point, but Bank of America has so far refused to take a position. The project would significantly harm the Great Barrier Reef--construction of the new port would require dredging part of the Great Barrier Reef World Heritage area--and would drive global climate change by drastically increasing carbon emissions.

Earlier this year, Bank of America proclaimed that “society needs to transition from high-carbon to low-carbon energy, and the bank has a responsibility to accelerate this transition.” Last month, Bank of America CEO Brian Moynihan reiterated the bank’s commitment to climate action when he spoke at the U.N. climate summit in New York. But Bank of America’s stated environmental position clashes starkly with the bank’s refusal to rule out bankrolling the expansion of Abbot Point.

“If Brian Moynihan’s public remarks on climate mean anything, then Bank of America needs to reject Abbot Point,” said RAN Climate and Energy Program Director Amanda Starbuck. “It’s unbelievable that in the midst of a climate emergency, Bank of America would even consider bankrolling a carbon bomb on the scale of the Alberta tar sands. On top of it, Abbot Point poses an immediate threat to one of the world’s most diverse ecosystems, the Great Barrier Reef. Bank of America needs to join the rest of its peers by rejecting this terrible project immediately.”

Building a new, larger export facility at Abbot Point is a key component of the plan to dramatically increase coal production in Australia’s Galilee Basin, one of the largest stores of carbon in the world. If the plan goes forward, Australia’s coal exports would likely double, and make the the country the number one coal exporter in the world. The proposed expansion has strong backing from the Australian government, but will require financial support from global investment banks to move ahead. Five major European banks (Deutsche Bank, Royal Bank of Scotland, HSBC, Barclays, and Credit Agricole) publicly ruled out investment in Abbot Point earlier this year after months of campaigning from an international coalition. That group was joined yesterday by U.S. banks Citigroup, JPMorgan Chase, and Goldman Sachs, which all made public commitments under pressure from RAN.


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RAN Applauds Move by U.S. Banks to Reject Australian Coal Port

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
October 27, 2014

contact:
Claire Sandberg, claire@ran.org646-641-6431


Rainforest Action Network Applauds Move by U.S. Banks to Reject Australian Coal Port

Abbot Point coal export project presents dire threat to climate and to the Great Barrier Reef

San Francisco—Rainforest Action Network commended the move by leading U.S. investment banks to rule out financing the Abbot Point coal export project in Queensland, Australia. Under pressure from RAN, Citigroup, Goldman Sachs, and JPMorgan Chase all issued written commitments—released publicly for the first time today—to not bankroll the controversial project, which would involve dredging part of the Great Barrier Reef.

“We’re pleased to see some of the biggest banks on Wall Street reject this destructive project that presents a grave threat to the Great Barrier Reef and to the global climate,” said RAN Climate and Energy Program Director Amanda Starbuck. “These banks have clearly taken a good look at the Abbot Point plan and decided that dredging a World Heritage Site to make way for coal ships is obviously a terrible idea.”

The chilly reception to Abbot Point from U.S. banks follows five major European banks (Deutsche Bank, Royal Bank of Scotland, HSBC, Barclays, and Credit Agricole) publicly ruling out investment in Abbot Point earlier this year after months of campaigning from an international coalition. BlackRock has also warned investors to steer clear of the project. This new move by major U.S. banks signals that the Adani Group and GVK may be unsuccessful in their bid to secure an estimated $26.5 billion in external financing necessary for the planned expansion of coal export facilities and associated mine and rail infrastructure.

Rainforest Action Network is campaigning to stop Abbot Point due to concerns over how terminal construction and operation would impact the Great Barrier Reef; building the terminal would require dredging an ecologically sensitive area of the Great Barrier Reef World Heritage Area. Additionally, if Abbot Point moves forward it could unlock one of the world’s largest untapped stores of carbon, the Galilee Basin, by providing critical export infrastructure. Nine new mega coal mines are currently planned for the Galilee Basin, five of which would be bigger than any coal mine currently operating in Australia. Galilee basin mines, if fully developed, would produce up to 330 million metric tons of coal per year for export, more than doubling Australia's exports. Australia is already the number two exporter of coal in the world.

“Stopping Abbot Point is a top priority for us, because this single project is the key to whether one of the largest stores of carbon on the planet, the Galilee Basin, stays in the ground where it belongs, or is sold on the global market and released into our atmosphere,” said Starbuck.

 

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