Appalachian resistance comes to NYC for Citi shareholder’s meeting

Written by Scott Parkin

Topics: Coal

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This week I am in New York for the Citi shareholder’s meeting. Mostly because Citi is the biggest funder of coal from the cradle to the grave. They fund mountaintop removal throughout Appalachia. Companies like Arch Coal, Massey Energy and Alpha Natural Resources are clients of Citi.

These companies, and Citi by proxy, are destroying communities throughout the region. They explode to tops off of mountains to get at seams of coal. They bury rivers, streams and creeks with the waste and debris from the blasting. They pollute local communities with coal processing plants. They poison the groundwater with the waste from the coal processing. It’s a pretty ugly situation in places like West Virginia and Kentucky. A spiriting growing resistance to mountaintop removal and the coal industry is sprouting up all over the country. In Appalachia, the industry is pretty indignant that people are actually complaining about their bombing campaign.

citi

I didn’t come alone to NYC. Maria Gunnoe, a Boone County WV resident, joined me to go inside the Citi shareholder’s meeting and speak a little truth to power. She’s fought the coal industry’s attempts to destroy mountains, streams and forests in her families traditional land. They haven’t like that too much and initiated a backlash against her.

Maria

Ed Wiley is here as well. Ed is a former miner that has started a campaign to move his granddaughter’s school, which sits 200 feet from a coal processing plant and 400 feet from a sludge dam, to another location.

Ed

Besides folks from West Virginia, I am here with a growing group of New Yorkers that want to hold banks like Citi and Bank of America responsible for their investments of mass destruction.

Last night, we had a meeting and discussion with Maria, Ed and Kerry Chad Albright, the “miracle baby” of the Buffalo Creek disaster, about mountaintop removal and the impact that the coal industry has had on West Virginia and Appalachia.

Today, we had a large protest outside of Citi’s AGM (more on that in the next post).

Industry and government has deemed Appalachia as an environmental sacrifice zone. The rest of us have decided that we disagree and are going to be resisting by any means necessary.

2 Comments For This Post I'd Love to Hear Yours!

  1. NLP says:

    I was inside the meeting, and Maria Gunnoe spoke beautifully and passionately. Three out of eight shareholder resolutions on the ballot today addressed environmental or social issues. There were only two main agenda items on the meeting today: calling for heads of the directors over shareholder losses, and corporate responsibility. Speakers on the first item were hostile, combative, and angry (not that I blame them). Speakers on human rights and the environment were civil, moving, and eloquent. Given that the executives were taking a hard beating over losses, they seemed refreshed and receptive to the more important issues. Congratulations for a very well done presentation.

    No matter how long it takes to see change, when vital issues continue to take up more space in the proxy publication, and more time in the shareholders meetings, they will have to listen. Very well done.

  2. NLP Advisor says:

    Great blog. Do you know of any relevant NLP forums or discussion groups?

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