Sam Haswell - RAN
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The National Day of Action – organized by RAN, Coal River Mountain Watch, Appalachian Voices, Rising Tide North America, Mountain Justice Summer, Student Environmental Action Coalition (SEAC), Energy Justice Network and others – featured everything from flyering and leafletting at local bank branches and ATMs to creative street theater and non-violent direct action at bank offices. Cities in which actions took place included San Francisco, Washington, D.C., Los Angeles, New York, Las Vegas, Charlotte, Portland, St. Louis, Denver, Chicago, Boston and Houston.
“Today’s strong turnout is a reflection of the public’s anger with these banks over their role in funding the new coal rush. Coal has devastating impacts on local communities and public health, and coal-fired power plants are the world’s top contributor to global warming,” said Rebecca Tarbotton, director of RAN’s Global Finance Campaign. “Citi and Bank of America are hereby on notice that unless they stop investing in global warming and start investing in the future, public actions like today’s are just the beginning.”
According to Bloomberg, Citi was the coal industry’s top underwriter in 2006 and is a leading lender to companies proposing to build new coal-fired power plants across the United States. If built, these plants would emit more than 600 million tons of carbon dioxide annually, undermining all other attempts to reduce emissions and prevent climate change.
Both Citi and Bank of America, in addition to funding new coal plants, also invest heavily in companies that practice mountaintop removal coal mining, a destructive coal extraction method that is responsible for the loss of millions of acres of forests and mountains and the decimation of communities throughout Appalachia. The carbon contained in forests destroyed each year by mountaintop removal is roughly equivalent to the carbon emissions of two 800-megawatt coal-fired power plants.