San Fransisco, Apr 5 2011
report card issued today by Rainforest Action Network and the Sierra Club ranks
ten of the world's largest banks on their financing of mountaintop removal coal
mining projects. Since 2010, the report card found that the top three
financiers of the destructive mining practice are PNC, Citi, and UBS. Deutsche
Bank and GE Capital received failing grades for having no policy in place to
guide funding of mining companies. Credit Suisse
and Wells Fargo were found to have the strongest policies in the sector.
report card at http://ran.org/reportcard.
card comes as Appalachian residents arrive in the nation's capital for their
"Week in Washington," raising awareness about the destruction in
their communities. The document explores the financing practices of Bank of
America, Citi, Credit Suisse, Deutsche Bank, GE Capital, JPMorgan Chase, Morgan
Stanley, PNC, UBS and Wells Fargo. Since January
2010, the report card found that these ten banks have provided more than $2.5
billion in loans and bonds to companies practicing
mountaintop removal coal mining.
removal is the subject of enormous public opposition as well as growing
regulatory and legislative scrutiny, which banks have been forced to address. Since
last year's report card (April 2010), there have been five new policies on mountaintop
removal from Chase, Wells Fargo, PNC, UBS, and Credit Suisse.
removal coal mining is bad for health and bad for business. From a regulatory
and financial perspective this disastrous mining practice is too big of a risk
for banks, and certainly too big of a risk to America's families," said Amanda
Starbuck of Rainforest Action Network. "Plain and simple, banks beware-mountaintop
removal coal mining is a bad investment."
regulatory perspective, the report shows that of all the mountaintop removal permits
reviewed in 2010 by the EPA, 99 were denied or withdrawn, 84 are still pending
and 18 have been approved. The report also finds that in 2010, coal production
figures for the mountaintop removal sector were in decline. Mining giants, like
Arch Coal, are moving away from Central Appalachia coal production, and
focusing on new opportunities in Wyoming's Powder River Basin and on the West
Coast with export terminals.
removal coal mining has no place in a clean energy economy, and the banks that
finance this destructive practice deserve our scrutiny," said Mary Anne
Hitt, Director of the Sierra Club's Beyond Coal Campaign. "Those who fund
mountaintop removal coal mining are lighting the fuse that leads to the
devastation of communities, waterways and landscapes across Appalachia."
and Sierra Club disclosed the findings of this report card to each of the ten
analyzed banks and offered them the opportunity to improve their grades with
further information or changes to banking policies. In response to initial
report card findings, three banks
will be strengthening their lending guidelines on mountaintop removal.
Suisse topped the list, earning an "A-" for its efforts to promote responsible
mining practices. Credit Suisse has confirmed that
they do not finance the extraction of coal in a mountaintop removal setting.
report card calls for the ten banks reviewed to strengthen their policies and
cease their financial support for mountaintop removal. The ‘best practice'
recommended in the report card is a clear exclusion policy on commercial
lending and investment banking services for all coal companies who practice
mountaintop removal coal extraction.
Bank of America was the first bank to issue a public policy
limiting its mountaintop removal financing back in December 2008. Citi followed
in August 2009, Credit Suisse in September 2009, Morgan Stanley and JPMorgan in
May 2010 and Wells Fargo in July of 2010. While each banks' policies differ,
they all demonstrate concern about the environmental and investment risks
associated with mountaintop mining, and all of the banks have made clear moves
away from companies who primarily focus on this form of extraction.
removal mining is a devastating form of mining where companies blow the tops
off mountains to reach a thin seam of coal and then dump the waste rock into
valleys below. This destructive practice 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.