Bank Of America Smack Dab In The Middle Of Coal Exports Controversy

By scott parkin
Bank of America and Coal Exports
Projection on Seattle Bank of America Branch. Photo by Marcus Donner/RAN

Last week, Rainforest Action Network’s guerrilla projections team rolled around Seattle raising the profile of coal exports in the Pacific Northwest.

Coal companies like Peabody Energy and Arch Coal are lobbying hard to build coal export terminals in Bellingham, WA and Longview, WA. And there are rumors that more such proposals will be popping up in other port towns up and down the Oregon and Washington coasts. The industry hopes to ship tens of millions of tons of coal through those terminals. The coal will be bound for power plants in overseas markets like China and India and will significantly contribute to global climate change. Furthermore, the mining and shipping of the coal will impact eco-systems and communities from Montana to the coast, and of course in Asia.

As we highlight the controversies around coal exports, we don’t want one of the worst culprits behind this potential environmental and human rights disaster to get away with anything.

That culprit is Bank of America.

The bank has been in the news a lot lately. It is the biggest forecloser of homes in the U.S. It pays its executives more in bonuses than it pays the government in taxes. It is rapidly downsizing its operations by laying off 30,000 employees and closing 600 branches. It is, at least partially, responsible for the economic disaster besieging the country right now.

Bank of America is also the money backing the ecological disaster unraveling before our very eyes — climate change. In short, Bank of America is the largest funder of coal in the U.S. And because BoA is the financier of both Peabody Energy and Arch Coal, it’s also one of the biggest funders of the great coal export build-out as well.

Earlier this week, RAN activists “bird-dogged” Bank of America CEO Brian Moynihan in New York while our projections team created controversy around coal exports in the northwest. Part of the projections work was a little artistry with Bank of America branch logos and the projections. Our goal was to connect Bank of America to the northwest coal exports.

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Life is not going to get easier for Mr. Moynihan or Bank of America as long as they continue to finance the coal industry. Just a heads up, things are about to get interesting.