Seattle Loves Mountains (Not King Coal or His Bankers at Chase)

posted by scott parkin

This weekend, Seattle activists tired of watching big banks ruin the global economy and the planet had an action at a Chase branch in Seattle.

Chase is currently the biggest U.S. funder of mountaintop removal.

Here’s a reportback from activist Duff Badgley:


We’ve joined the Rainforest Action Network national campaign against arch climate criminal Chase Bank’s funding of mountaintop removal.

And, to celebrate, we held a Seattle branch of Chase under siege yesterday, February 13. Squad car lights flashed as cops, security guards and multiple bank managers defended the right of Chase to ruin our planet.

We protesters returned to the scene of the N30 crime where I was arrested after chaining myself to the front door of Chase at Westlake Plaza. I’m under court order to not enter this Chase branch until after July 6, 2010.

We badly scared Chase on N30. A Chase rep at their corporate headquarters in New York City said Seattle protesters had “defaced” a branch of Chase and were facing “federal charges”. They’ve gotta be scared of us if they distort the truth so badly. My co-arrestee and I were completely nonviolent on N30 and were each charged only with violating local trespass law.

So, we went back yesterday to keep the siege of Chase Bank going.

It’s important to remember who is the criminal here.

The criminal on N30 was Chase Bank for a laundry list of climate crimes including heavily financing coal, oil and gas industries. The criminal now is still Chase Bank for being the largest financier of mountaintop removal.

MTR is the practice of blowing off the tops of mountains in Appalachia to extract coal. MTR literally reduces whole mountains—472 so far—to rubble as it detonates the explosive equivalent of one Hiroshima atom bomb each week in the country’s oldest mountains. MTR poisons waterways across thousands of square miles. MTR releases toxic dust across the same range. MTR violently destroys forest and wildlife habitat, turning lush woodland into mangled moonscapes of bare rock.

All this criminal behavior is funded by Chase more than any other bank. All this criminal behavior comes to extract coal, our dirtiest fossil fuel and our worst aggravator of climate change.

The cops and security guards and bank managers behaved yesterday as if reading from our script. The managers recognized us on the sidewalk outside Chase from N30. They promptly summoned security and police. Two police cruisers plus bicycle cops responded. The cops stationed themselves outside the bank on the sidewalk, while bank employees stared at us from inside. One cop placed himself between us and the bank front door. Chase customers had to walk a gauntlet past the flashing lights, the cops and our big CHASE BANK CLIMATE CRIMINALS banner to get into the bank.

Kristen, one of our protesters, entered the bank to withdraw all her money and close her account—a hugely powerful act. She reported back the bank employees inside “were all scared”. Chase was under siege!!

RAN has fellow protesters against Chase in the streets of Chicago and New York. In Seattle, we plan regular protests at this Chase branch or others in our city—until they stop their climate crimes.

Join us! Tell friends who bank at Chase to withdraw their money. Let’s spark a national boycott of Chase. Make Chase Bank stop hurting Our Shared Planet.

Duff Badgley, Feb. 14, 2010