Wall Street banks like PNC are trying to wipe our mountains off the map.
In a desperate rush to squeeze more profit out of dwindling coal seams, coal companies are turning to an extreme form of mining known as mountaintop removal. It’s exactly what it sounds like: Appalachian mountains are being blown to pieces with heavy explosives.
It’s not just wild forests and mountains that are being destroyed. As heavy metals and arsenic leach into water supplies, communities are being poisoned. Children in Appalachian coal mining communities are 42% more likely to be born with birth defects and have a life expectancy that is almost 5 years lower than the national average.
PNC says it’s “a leader in eco-friendly development” but it’s financing some of the worst perpetrators of mountaintop removal and profiting from the destruction.
Tell PNC to divest from companies that practice mountaintop removal coal mining.
These children, and their communities, are running out of time. Every single day, PNC-funded projects are blasting the mountains and contaminating the water. And every day more people are getting cancer and other illnesses. Junior Walk, now an adult, tells of the experience of growing up in an affected Appalachian community:
When they started pumping the liquid coal waste into the abandoned coal mines above my home when I was a little child, my family’s water soon turned blood-red and smelled like sulfur. If you ran a bath, you had to step out of the room for a minute or so before you got in. Of course we didn’t drink it, but we still had to shower in it, wash our dishes and clothes in it, and sometimes cook with it. We thought if we boiled it, that it’d be alright because it stopped smelling. But it turns out that ain’t the case.
We can’t let PNC fund disease and destruction any longer. Ask PNC to stop funding companies that practice mountaintop removal.
In 2010, PNC responded to pressure by introducing a policy of not providing funding to individual mountaintop removal projects, or providing credit to coal producers whose primary extraction method is mountaintop removal. And yet, in 2011, PNC provided loans for 4 of the 5 largest coal companies. These 4 companies account for 47% of all mountaintop removal coal mining. The policy amounted to nothing.
But we know that PNC care what the public thinks of it. And we know that the will is there to change. In April, a quarter of PNC shareholders voted in favour of a proposal calling on PNC to evaluate its financial risk of funding carbon intensive practices such as coal mining. In terms of shareholder activism, that is huge. If we put enough pressure on PNC to divest from mountaintop removal mining projects, we could have a tremendous impact on the communities and landscapes of Appalachia. Let’s stand up to the big banks and let them know we put people before profit -- they should too.
Thanks for all that you do,
Hanna, and the rest of us at SumOfUs.org
PNC defends coal business loans, says they help economy, Triblive, 25 April
PNC Shareholders' Meeting Slammed With Environmental Protests, Allegheny Front, 26 April