San Francisco, May 13 2010
new report card issued by Rainforest Action Network, the Sierra Club and
BankTrack ranks nine of the largest banks backing dangerous and devastating
mountaintop removal (MTR) coal mining projects. Among the nine graded are Bank
of America, Citi, Credit Suisse, Wells Fargo, JPMorgan Chase, Morgan Stanley,
GE Capital, PNC and UBS. Failing grades went to PNC, JPMorgan Chase and UBS who
came out as the lead financiers of companies practicing
mountaintop removal coal mining.
copy of the report card can be found here.
Since January 2008, the report card found that these nine banks
have provided more than $3.9 billion in loans and bonds to companies practicing mountaintop removal coal mining, including
Massey Energy and Arch Coal.
idea of corporate responsibility has come up repeatedly in recent weeks
following the coal mine and oil disasters. That responsibility extends beyond
profits to the health and wellbeing of our communities. By continuing to
finance mountaintop removal coal mining these banks are throwing that
responsibility aside," said Mark Kresowik of the Sierra Club.
which finances almost half of all mountaintop removal coal mining, ranked worst
of the worst. The bank earned an "F" for its total failure to take
environmental risks into account in its lending practices. Also earning an "F"
were UBS and JPMorgan Chase, which respectively finance about one-third of all
the MTR coal mined in Appalachia, and GE Capital,
which backs about one-quarter of all operations.
JPMorgan Chase and UBS received failing grades today as the lead financiers of
mountaintop removal, the devastating practice of blowing up our mountains for
an insignificant amount of dirty coal," said Amanda Starbuck of Rainforest
Action Network. "When it comes to protecting America's mountains and clean
drinking water, we don't grade on a curve. When banks stop funding mountaintop
removal they will move to the head of the class."
RAN and Sierra Club disclosed the findings of this report card
to each of the nine analyzed banks and offered them the opportunity to improve
their grade with further information or changes to banking policies. In
response to initial report card findings, Morgan Stanley released a public MTR
policy that moved them from a failing grade to a C grade. JP Morgan Chase,
despite a yearlong pressure campaign and their upcoming Annual General
Shareholder meeting on May 18th, has yet to make changes to their MTR
Suisse topped the list, earning an "A-" for their efforts to promote
responsible mining practices. Credit Suisse has
confirmed that they do not finance the extraction of coal in a mountain top
Rainforest Action Network and the Sierra Club are calling for
the nine banks reviewed in this report card to strengthen their policies and
cease their financial support for MTR. 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
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.