Bank of America received praise from the Rainforest Action Network for its decision to phase out financing for companies that practice mountaintop removal coal mining, a controversial method of coal extraction.
The announcement, part of a new coal policy released on the Bank of America’s website reads: “We…will phase out financing of companies whose predominant method of extracting coal is through mountain top removal.” The policy comes the day after the Bush administration approved a rule which will make it easier for coal companies to dump rock and dirt from mountaintop removal mining operations into nearby streams and valleys.[social_buttons]
“Bank of America’s decision is a giant leap forward in the fight against mountaintop removal coal mining, which has devastated Appalachian communities and the mountains and streams they depend on,” said Rebecca Tarbotton, director of Rainforest Action Network’s Global Finance Campaign.
The Rainforest Action Network has pressured Bank of America since October 2007 to cease financing of mountaintop removal mining and coal-fired power plants. “We hope that Citi, JP Morgan Chase and other banks follow Bank of America’s lead.”
“This is a testament to the hard work of Appalachian communities and anti-coal activists across the country, whose collective pressure left Bank of America with little choice but to abandon its support for this barbaric form of resource extraction,” said Tarbotton. “To responsibly meet the challenges of the climate crisis, Bank of America’s next step should be a complete phase-out of coal financing and increased investments in energy efficiency and renewables.”
Bank of America is currently involved with eight of the U.S.’s top mountaintop removal coal-mining operators, which collectively produce more than 250 million tons of coal each year. Mountaintop removal flattens mountain ranges and transforms healthy mountain woodlands into toxic sludge that has clogged more than 700 miles of rivers and streams. For many Appalachian communities, the practice is a major threat to their existence.