After receiving a lot of pressure from activist groups for months, PNC Bank finally gave in and joined the growing number of major banks to issue a strong position on mountaintop removal (MTR) coal mining, saying that will no longer lend money to the destructive practice.
“Removing sources of funding for MTR is crucial, of course, as it’s no secret that the only thing robber barons like Massey’s Don Blankenship respect is money,” Mike Gaworecki of Change.org writes. Furthermore, getting PNC to stop supporting this practice is just about as good as it gets since “the bank is the top funder of MTR coal mining, providing funds to six of the largest coal companies who continue to see blowing the tops off of mountains and filling streams and valleys with toxic rubble as a cost-effective and modern means of producing energy.”
With Bank of America, Citi, Morgan Stanley, JPMorgan Chase, Wells Fargo, and Credit Suisse previously taking such steps (Credit Suisse won’t even lend money to companies that practice MTR, no matter what the request is for), this leaves UBS and GE capital as the only major banks that support MTR.
Regarding its new policy and MTR, PNC writes:
MTR is the subject of increasing regulatory and legislative scrutiny, with a focus on the permitting of MTR mines. While this extraction method is permitted, PNC will not provide funding to individual MTR projects, nor will PNC provide credit to coal producers whose primary extraction method is MTR. PNC will continue to monitor this industry while various regulatory issues are addressed through legislation and public policy.
Good to see either PNC and all these other banks caring about such things as MTR or activist organizations succeeding in pressuring major companies to act more responsibly. Or, of course, some combination of these factors.
1. West Virginians Down to Last Mountain – Yet Wind Income Would be 50 Times More
2. West Virgina Activists Risk Arrest, Plant Trees on Mountaintop Removal Mining Site
3. To Swiss Banking Giant UBS: Get Out of Mountaintop Removal Coal Mining!
Photo Credit: iLoveMountains.org via flickr