Pages tagged "coalash"


Bank of America and Drummond Coal in Colombia

This blog post has been updated.

This month, Rainforest Action Network and three allies testified at Bank of America's annual shareholder meeting, urging them to drop coal, to stop profiting from environmental destruction and human rights abuses. We're posting the statements of our three allies. Add your voice by telling Bank of America to stop funding coal—and come clean on climate change

My name is Santiago Piñeros. I was born in Bogotá, Colombia, and I work with Pensamiento y Acción Social (Thought and Social Action), an NGO that assists communities affected by large-scale mining in the center of the Cesar region in Colombia. I have had the opportunity to see how Drummond LTD operates in these areas, a multinational company in which Bank of America invests millions of dollars to develop its extractive coal and gas business.

Three towns located in the middle of the Cesar region—El Hatillo, community we assist, Plan Bonito, and Boquerón, communities we follow up—have to be resettled by Drummond, Glencore-Xstrata and a Goldman Sachs mining company. These resettlements were ordered by the Colombian government, due to the high levels of air pollution and dust from the coal mines. These communities should have been relocated two years ago because of the dangers that coal ash poses to people's health, including respiratory diseases, such as lung cancer, skin and ocular diseases. Thus, Drummond is currently co responsible for three involuntary resettlement processes due to air pollution in El Cesar Region.1 These communities must be resettled quickly, and Drummond's investors, including Bank of America, need to make sure this happens.

Drummond directly contaminates groundwater and rivers where these communities make their livelihoods.2 Activities such as fishing, hunting, territorial and cultural relations with the environment have deteriorated and are often no longer possible due to the contamination. For communities that rely on fishing and hunting for survival, the destruction of the environment means the destruction of the community.3 For these facts, the environmental damages in this region become a violation of the human rights of these communities and so creates an obligation for its investors—you—to commit to recognize the value of the human rights of these poor rural communities, communities that are threatened with simply disappearing. Bank of America has an obligation to protect these communities.

Bank of America invests today in a company that does not respect environmental standards. According to the environmental authorities Drummond recently spilled around 1,800 tons of coal into the Caribbean Sea off the coast of Colombia. This disaster happened because Drummond chose not to implement required changes to the system of directly loading coal at port, which would have prevented these accidents.4 Pollution levels at Drummond coal mines exceed the levels permitted by law in Colombia, and they are steadily increasing.5 The pollution is affecting human health. Still, Drummond only responds to sanctions if they impact the company's ability to export coal.

Bank of America finances Drummond's coal operation and so is co responsible for Drummond, a company that operates with no due diligence regarding human, economic and cultural rights. According to the most recent study of the Contraloría General, Drummond's operations, and thus Bank of America's investments, do not guarantee a healthy life and environment, these operations only make a profit from our natural resources.6 Who holds the accounts where these profits are stashed? Bank of America.

Are these environmental and human rights abuses something you recognize? What responsibility do you have for these events? Your money is being used to fund mining operations that do not represent social, environmental and economic benefits for the communities living in the surroundings of the mines. In fact, the levels of unsatisfied basic necessities in these communities increase as sanctions and fines while the resettlements do not seem to advance.

Sources

1. Resolution No. 9070 of 2010 and Resolution No. 1525 of 2010 from the Colombian Ministry of Environment, Housing and Development (MAVDT).
2. Contraloría General de la Nación. Minería en Colombia I: Derechos, políticas públicas y gobernanza. // Minería en Colombia II: Institucionalidad y territorio, paradojas y conflictos. 2013.
3. Resolution No. 54 of 2008 from the Defensoría del Pueblo de Colombia.
4. Resolution No. 0123 of 2013 and Resolution No. 001 of 2014 from the National Authority of Environmental Licenses (ANLA).
5. Resolution No. 9070 of 2010 and Resolution No. 1525 of 2010 from the Colombian Ministry of Environment, Housing and Development (MAVDT).
6. Contraloría General de la Nación. Minería en Colombia I: Derechos, políticas públicas y gobernanza. // Minería en Colombia II: Institucionalidad y territorio, paradojas y conflictos. 2013.


Did You Hear The One About The Bank That Couldn't Count?

BoA_ActionLast week, Bank of America (BofA) admitted a huge accounting error—for several years, it claimed a whopping $4 billion more in capital than it actually has. The day BofA announced its blunder, its shares closed down more than six percent, the stock’s biggest drop in two years.

But BofA had to come clean. Regulators, shareholders and consumers need an accurate picture of banks' balance sheets.

BofA’s admission gives us a rare chance to raise a far bigger question: What else are they hiding?

It's time for BofA to be transparent about something much more vital to the future of the planet: just how much its investments contribute to climate change.

Tell Bank of America: Come clean on funding climate change!

I'm writing to you from BofA's Annual General Meeting (AGM) in Charlotte, North Carolina, where I'm about to speak in support of a crucial shareholder resolution. The Interfaith Center on Corporate Responsibility—backed by investors worth almost $35 billion—is pushing the bank to report on how much carbon pollution gets spewed into the atmosphere by the companies it funds.

BofA is a top funder of the biggest drivers of climate change: coal, oil, and gas corporations, as well as carbon–intensive electricity producers. But it's refusing to report on its financed carbon emissions. BofA knows that opening its books will create pressure to cut emissions by moving away from fossil fuels.

Now is the time to push BofA on climate change. Last week's accounting revelations were a big black eye, and at today's AGM, the bank needs to reassure its shareholders and customers that it doesn't have billions of dollars of climate liabilities on its books.

We need you to add your voice: Tell Bank of America to come clean on climate accounting!

Pushing for transparency is just the first step. We're also calling on BofA to cut its carbon pollution by stopping funding coal, the top contributor to climate change. I'll be making that call here at the AGM in just a few minutes, and ally organizations will speak to coal's cost beyond climate: mountains with their tops blown off in West Virginia, rivers wrecked by coal ash here in North Carolina, and human rights abuses by coal company security forces in Colombia.

Will you stand with us? Tell BofA that today's the day to come clean on funding climate change—and to cut its emissions by ending coal financing.


Dump Now, Pay Later: Coal Risk Update on Coal Ash

LBR photo three, from air, Oct 23 2011 Each year, the U.S. coal-fired power plant fleet produces over 130 million tons of coal ash. And while this ash frequently contains arsenic, lead, mercury, and other toxic chemicals that threaten human health, it is less regulated than your household trash. For decades, power plants have disposed of coal ash in over 2,000 landfills and holding ponds around the country. These ponds and landfills can leach contaminants into groundwater and have even ruptured without warning, causing catastrophic ash spills. Today, RAN published a new Coal Risk Update which looks at the growing legal, regulatory, and financial risks facing electric power producers from the disposal of coal ash in landfills and holding ponds. Although coal ash is not currently regulated on the federal level, people living near coal ash ponds and landfills have filed several lawsuits that have forced power plant operators to clean up groundwater contamination from coal ash. This January, a major plaintiff litigation firm filed several lawsuits against the Southern Company, alleging that it engaged in racketeering, battery, fraud, and negligence by failing to put a lining on its 750-acre coal ash pond. For U.S. electric power producers, coal ash ponds and landfills are likely to cause environmental compliance and legal headaches for decades to come. While coal ash is not currently regulated on the federal level, forthcoming EPA regulations are likely to force power plants to close coal ash ponds that lack a bottom lining and invest in costly ash handling upgrades at power plants. Using EPA disclosures and data obtained by the Environmental Integrity Project and Earthjustice through a Freedom of Information Act request, we were able to rank U.S. electric power producers by their exposure to coal ash pond failure risk and groundwater contamination risk: top 5 grid To date, the investor-owned electric power producers that rank highly on these lists have disclosed very little information about how they are managing coal ash-related risks. At companies that lack plans for closing or remediating ash ponds and landfills, impacted communities will bear the costs of ongoing contamination and the risks of catastrophic pond failures. This lack of transparency also leaves investors in these companies—who are ultimately on the hook for legal battles and coal ash cleanup projects—in the dark about coal ash-related risks.   (Image of the Little Blue Run coal ash pond courtesy Robert Donnan/Environmental Integrity Project)

Why Coal Ash Needs Regulating

The EPA has been holding public hearings on its coal ash regulations regulatory proposals across the US this Fall. The final public hearing is scheduled for Knoxville, TN next week, on October 27. See for yourself why the EPA must regulate toxic coal ash waste: Ohio Citizen Action has put together this video which explains the issues at stake.

Take Action! Protect Communities from Dangerous Coal Ash

Take action today and demand that the EPA regulate coal ash and other coal combustion wastes as a hazardous waste under the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA). The Tennessee Valley Authority's (TVA) devastating coal ash slurry spill in Eastern Tennessee was just over a year ago. Take action with the Waterkeeper Alliance and pressure the EPA to better regulate coal ash and prevent future spills. -Annie

TVA Police Arrest 1 Activist, 2 Journalists Near Last Year's Coal Ash Spill

On their way to interview a local citizen still living near the site of last year's TVA coal-ash disaster, United Mountain Defense (UMD) volunteer Matt Landon Jones and two journalists were detained and searched by TVA police. The police officer was writing trespassing warning citations for all three when he received a phone call. At that point, the game changed, and instead of issuing warnings, the TVA police arrested and charged all three with criminal trespassing, in what can only be characterized as a gross overreaction. coal ash TVA's Community Relations Senior Manager posted a notice to the Roane County Community Advisory Board in which she reports that "TVA Police found the three offenders in and on top of ash-loaded rail cars located on tracks adjacent to the middle road entrance to plant." Matt's citation, however, explicitly states that he was in the back passenger seat of the car. Video that was rolling until the officer ripped the camera out of Matt's hands clearly shows both Matt and one of the journalists sitting inside the car. Bail for these three individuals had been posted at $2,000 each. They were released last night at around 10pm. Donate now to support their legal efforts

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