Dear Citi: You Have a Responsibility
Last week we got the news that Alpha Natural Resources had bought out Massey Energy
, in a deal worth over $7 billion that creates the largest mountaintop removal coal mining company in Appalachia.
Citi bank took the financial lead on this deal, a move that drew strong criticism. Here's the transcript of a letter from 15 community organizations, environmental NGOs, science groups and faith groups, that was sent to the bank's CEO, Vikram Pandit:
February 03, 2011
Dear Mr. Pandit:
We write to express concern at your decision to provide both financial advice and financing commitments to Alpha Natural Resources in its acquisition of Massey Energy.
As you know, mountaintop removal (MTR) coal mining is one of America’s worst environmental violations. Every day, across Appalachia, the coal industry literally blows the tops off mountains: clearcutting forests, wiping out natural habitats, poisoning rivers and drinking water and obliterating entire communities. Not only are these mountains lost forever, but also the heritage and the health of families across the region are being sacrificed.
In 2009, you announced a “robust MTR Environmental Due Diligence Process,” giving us hope that Citi was reducing its financial backing for this most destructive mining practice.
The announcement of the Alpha-Massey deal demonstrates that your policy is not producing results. Massey and Alpha are collectively responsible for more than 26 percent of all MTR mining in Central Appalachia. As a lead in this transaction as well as a longtime financier of Alpha Natural Resources, Citi has a responsibility to more effectively address its enormous exposure to mountaintop removal coal mining.
We call on you to strengthen your 2009 MTR Due Diligence Process with a clear exclusion on financing MTR, ending financing across the board for companies that use this egregious practice.
Rebecca Tarbotton, Rainforest Action Network
Natural Resources Defense Council
Janet Keating, Ohio Valley Environment Council
Vernon Haltom, Coal River Mountain Watch
Michael Brune, Sierra Club
Teri Blanton, Kentuckians for the Commonwealth
Southern Appalachian Mountain Stewards
Larry Gibson, Keeper of the Mountains Foundation
Union of Concerned Scientists
Ingrid Lakey, Earth Quaker Action Team
The Alliance for Appalachia
Kentucky Mountain Justice
Johan Frijns, BankTrack
Statewide Organizing for Community eMpowerment