More and more people are demanding that JPMorgan Chase stop financing the coal industry and the destruction of Appalachia through mountaintop removal coal mining. Earlier this month, Bill McKibben sent a letter to JPMorgan Chase CEO Jamie Dimon and this week, Gloria Reuben, actress, singer and social activist, sent her letter – posted below. Ms. Reuben also posted a heartfelt call to end mountaintop removal mining on her personal website, as well as Huffington Post. Thanks Gloria!
Dear Mr. Dimon:
I am writing to you about an urgent issue – to respectfully request you end JPMorgan Chase & Co.’s support of the coal industry. This industry is destroying our nation’s oldest and most diverse mountains, causing catastrophic erosion and flooding, devastating ecosystems, poisoning drinking water, and obliterating historic communities. By investing in the coal industry, JPMorgan Chase & Co. is complicit in this wholesale destruction.
Mr. Dimon, you fund six of the top eight coal mining companies responsible for mountaintop-removal coal mining in the U.S., a practice that has been described as “raping Appalachia.” Your company has underwritten more than $1 billion in new financing to Massey Energy, the largest mountaintop-removal coal mining company. Massey Energy has a deplorable record, including breaches of employee safety standards, recent violent acts at peaceful gatherings, and violating the federal Clean Water Act at least 4,500 times – resulting in a $30 million fine. Massey Energy’s CEO, Don Blankenship, has been implicated in buying the influence of Supreme Court justices in West Virginia.
As an actress and performer, I’ve been privileged to see firsthand America’s unparalleled beauty and I can state unequivocally that no place has moved me as aesthetically and spiritually as the Appalachian Mountains. I am honored to speak for this region in my capacity as Vice Chair of the Board of Trustees for Waterkeeper Alliance.
There is no redeeming chapter in the story of coal. From mining it to the disposal of ash after it’s burned, the coal industry is bad for the environment, bad for our health, bad for our communities, and bad for your bank. JPMorgan Chase & Co. has emerged financially strong from the economic crisis, but it has also emerged as a top financier of coal. Investing in the coal industry, especially mountaintop-removal coal mining, is a bad corporate decision. Investing in renewable energy like wind and solar power creates at least 2.8 times the number of jobs as coal for the same investment. Investing in conservation creates 3.8 as many jobs as coal, and mass transit investments create more than six times as many jobs. Investing in a clean energy economy provides jobs that mountaintop-removal coal mining simply cannot.
You have spoken often about your commitment to holding JPMorgan Chase & Co. to the highest standards of corporate social responsibility, yet your actions contradict that. Mr. Dimon, please demonstrate your leadership by announcing that JPMorgan Chase & Co. will no longer be associated with mountaintop-removal coal mining, the largest ecological and social disaster being perpetrated in America today. Stop bankrolling mountaintop-removal coal mining and the coal industry.
Vice Chair, Board of Trustees