A few days ago, I sat down for an interview with the good folks at Living on Earth, Public Radio International’s weekly environmental news show.
We talked about RAN’s work fighting mountaintop removal (MTR) coal mining in Appalachia, and the banks that fund it. From that interview, here are five things you need to know:
- MTR destroys some of the most biodiverse ecosystems in the U.S. The first step in blowing the top off a mountain is clear cutting the forest off the top of it—some of the most diverse forests in the United States.
- MTR debris is toxic. The rubble that’s left after the coal gets picked out of it is full of mercury and heavy metals—and all of it gets pushed into the valleys and streams next to the blown-up mountain.
- MTR is big business for big banks. When RAN began campaigning on MTR, all of the major U.S. banks and most of the big European ones were doing deals with MTR mining companies.
- Our pressure on the banking sector is working—but there are some significant holdouts. We’ve successfully pushed Wells Fargo, J.P. Morgan Chase, Royal Bank of Scotland and BNP Paribas/Bank of the West to stop doing business with the biggest MTR companies. But PNC Bank, Citibank, Morgan Stanley and Barclays—the number one financier of MTR—are still profiting from this horrific practice.
- Banks don’t like it when you ask them about MTR. Living on Earth contacted all four holdout banks. Only Barclays offered any response.