Over the past few weeks, several RAN members and activists have forwarded me emails received from James Fuschetti, Managing Director of the Office of Environmental Affairs at JPMC. In his emails to RAN activists, Fuchetti claims that JPMorgan’s “financing in this industry [coal and mtr] are quite small,” and disputes JPMorgan Chase’s relationship with Massey Energy – the largest mountaintop removal mining company in the United States.
These emails from Mr. Fuschetti are quite alarming because after several meetings with campaign staff at RAN and many letters clearly outlining RAN’s concerns, he still seems to be confused as to why we are demanding that JPMorgan Chase stop investing in coal and MTR.
Here are a few reminders:
1) Arch Coal. Arch has been operating the largest mountaintop-removal (MTR) coal mine (Spruce Mine) in Appalachia. In March 2009, Chase amended and renewed its $700 million credit facility with Arch Coal. In October 2009, the EPA revoked the Spruce Mine permit out of concern that the mine was in violation of the Clean Water Act. We documented this in a letter to Jamie Dimon on October 29th.
2) Massey Energy. One of the most notorious and aggressive mountaintop removal mining companies, Massey is known to operate with a regular disregard for environmental and labor standards and has been fined for thousands of violations of the Clean Water Act. RAN called Chase’s problematic financing of Massey Energy to Jamie Dimon’s attention during the 2009 shareholder meeting. Both Wells Fargo and Bank of America have already dropped Massey as a client following senior management and Board review. In August 2008, Chase underwrote $850 million in common stock and senior notes for Massey Energy.
3) AMP-Ohio. At the 2009 Chase AGM a representative from Ohio Citizen Action spoke to Jamie Dimon about Chase’s financing support for AMP-Ohio’s proposed new coal plant on the Ohio River. Despite Chase’s role in developing the Carbon Principles, which purport to bring more rigorous due diligence to financing of new coal plants, AMP received a $450 million line of credit from Chase in September 2009 with explicit authorization to use the funds for AMP’s hotly-contested pulverized coal-fired power plant in Meigs County, Ohio. In December 2009, the planned AMP-Ohio coal plant was scrapped.
4) Alliant Energy. Chase violated the Carbon Principles in providing financing for Alliant Energy with a known use of proceeds to support two new coal-fired power plants in Wisconsin and Iowa. As with the AMP-Ohio plant, there was rigorous opposition to these plants that included critiques in the public record of the financial risks and the availability of cheaper, cleaner alternatives. In March 2009, civil society concerns were validated when both coal plants were canceled. The public utilities commissions severely criticized the financial risk analysis of those plants, leading to the question of what good Chase’s “enhanced due diligence” did in this case.
I hope this information helps to refresh Mr. Fuschetti’s memory – its high time for JPMorgan Chase to take responsibility for their investments and pull out of financing the coal industry!