Today Rainforest Action Network, the Sierra Club and BankTrack issued a report card that ranks nine of the world’s largest banks on their financing of dangerous mountaintop removal (MTR) coal mining projects as well as their MTR lending policies. The report revealed that PNC, JPMorgan Chase and UBS received failing grades as the lead financiers of companies practicing MTR.
We reviewed the financing practices of Bank of America, Citi, Credit Suisse, Wells Fargo, JPMorgan Chase, Morgan Stanley, GE Capital, PNC and UBS. Since January 2008, we found that these nine banks have provided more than $3.9 billion in loans and bonds to companies practicing mountaintop removal coal mining, including bad boy coal companies Massey Energy and Arch Coal.
To cut through the finance jargon, what this report says is that PNC, JPMorgan Chase and UBS are the ATMS of the MTR coal industry. They are financing a devastating form of mining where companies blow the tops off mountains to reach a thin seam of coal and then dump the toxic waste into the valleys below.
As Amanda Starbuck from RAN said in a press release this morning:
“PNC, JPMorgan Chase and UBS received failing grades today as the lead financiers of mountaintop removal, the devastating practice of blowing up our mountains for an insignificant amount of dirty coal. When it comes to protecting America’s mountains and clean drinking water, we don’t grade on a curve. When banks stop funding mountaintop removal they will move to the head of the class.”
Banks can still profit as banks without funding destruction like mountaintop removal. In the report card Credit Suisse stood out as an example, earning an “A-” for their efforts to promote responsible mining practices. Credit Suisse has confirmed that they do not finance the extraction of coal in a mountain top removal setting.
Mountaintop removal coal mining has buried nearly 2,000 miles of streams and threatens to destroy 1.4 million acres of land by 2020. The mining destroys Appalachian communities, the health of coalfield residents and any hope for positive economic growth.
It is time for banks to stop funding this dangerous, destructive practice and to start funding our clean energy future!