Last month RAN organized a protest inside PNC Bank’s Washington DC branch in coalition with the Earth Quaker Action Team, RAN Chicago and Reverend Billy and the Church of Life After Shopping. We wanted to draw attention to PNC’s role in financing mountaintop removal (MTR) coal mining in Appalachia and put pressure on the bank to move away from investing in the devastating practice. Our protest was incredibly powerful. Reverend Billy preached about saving Appalachia from destructive mining while his choir sang and dumped dirt representing Appalachian mountains on the floor of the bank. 35 people occupied the bank that day, and four of them were arrested.
The PNC protest was a success. Shortly afterward, PNC announced a new policy on financing companies engaged in mountaintop removal.
The four arrestees, Alexa Ross, Liz Nerat, George Lakey and Reverend Billy Talen recently appeared in a DC courthouse to face charges of illegal entry at PNC’s bank branch. The presiding judge happened to be a former civil liberties lawyer who discussed having seen the Beehive Collective’s presentation on mountaintop removal coal mining. The PNC Four were able to tell the Judge about the bank’s role in MTR financing, PNC’s new position on the issue, and why the group felt compelled to protest inside the bank.
All four accepted a plea agreement. As long as they do not get arrested for nine months, all charges will be dismissed. Thanks to the PNC Four for playing such an important role in pressuring PNC to take mountaintop removal mining seriously!
Interested in taking action to stop mountaintop removal coal mining in America? Tell EPA head Lisa P. Jackson to veto the largest MTR site ever proposed in the history of the United States.
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