The Money Behind Otter Creek Mine

Written by Amanda Starbuck

Topics: Coal, Finance

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Otter CreekThis weekend I’m heading north to the Big Sky Country to join friends and allies at the Coal Export Action.

Yesterday, my colleague Scott wrote about the focus of this protest: the Otter Creek Mine in Montana’s Powder River Basin.

As with so many issues that RAN works on, money is the motivating factor that is driving mining giant Arch Coal to exploit these beautiful, wild lands. Arch is gambling that a future market in coal exports from the Pacific North West coast will bring in some big returns.

Follow the money, and you’ll find some familiar players. Arch Coal is being underwritten by Bank of America, Citi, Morgan Stanley and PNC. These banks – who have all publicly expressed concern for the climate – arranged a $2 billion credit line for Arch in May of this year and a further $1 billion bond in June.

At a time when coal companies are reporting significant losses, it is the financial lifeline provided by these banks that enables Arch to drive forward their plans for new mines, such as Otter Creek and for new coal export terminals, while writing a suicide note for our planet and climate.

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