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PNC and UBS: financing the destruction of America’s mountains

Dodgy deals
By Annie Sartor, RAN | San Fransisco, US, Jun 27 2010

Over the past couple of years, several of the biggest banks in the world have released policies and statements regarding investments in the mountaintop removal coal mining industry. According to the MTR report card that RAN released earlier this year, the biggest banks in the financial sector have begun to recognize MTR as a risky and socially irresponsible investment. However, two banks have emerged as major financiers of MTR companies that other banks won't touch: PNC and UBS.

PNC is a small Pennsylvania based bank that, according to it's website, provides "deposit, lending, cash management and investment services to more than 5 million consumer and small business customers across 15 states and the District of Columbia."

While PNC claims to be "the greenest bank in the business"
they have provided financing within the past 2 1/2 years to 6 out of the top 8 corporate MTR companies, including Massey Energy. During this period, PNC provided over $130 million to MTR companies in bond deals alone.

This "greenest bank in the business" lacks a robust environmental policy, appears to have no corporate social responsibility (CSR) or environmental staff team and has not responded to any communication from RAN. Needless to say, PNC has not made any reference to mountaintop removal in any of its press releases or responsibility statements.

PNC's is not alone in their continued financing of MTR. UBS is another bank that has so far refused to keep up with their financial sector colleagues and move away from financing the practice.

While the Swiss are very proud and protective of their Alps, Swiss-based UBS is apparently comfortable with destroying American mountains. UBS provided over $760 million in bond deals to 5 of the top 8 corporate MTR companies, including Massey Energy, in the past 2 1/2 years.

UBS is a huge financier of mountaintop removal coal mining and while they have a relatively low profile in the United States, they do have wealth management offices in most states.

PNC and UBS are outliers in the banking industry because of their refusal to acknowledge mountaintop removal coal mining as a risky investment. Both these banks need to hear from activists demanding that they stop bankrolling the destruction of Appalachia. If you have the time or inclination, take a look at both of these banks' websites and see if they have branches or offices near you and pay them a visit! Let us know how it goes and hopefully these two banks will soon join the rest of the banking industry in moving away from the destructive MTR industry.

Mountain top removal coal mining
United States
Mountain top removal (MTR) mining is a form of strip mining in which coal companies use explosives to blast as much as 800 to 1,000 feet off the tops of mountains order to…

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