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Following several months of discussions, TIAA-CREF -- one of the nation’s largest financial services companies -- has removed TECO from its “socially responsible” mutual fund portfolio Although the utility has undertaken efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions at its power plants, NRDC successfully persuaded TIAA-CREF that TECO does not warrant the status of a “socially responsible" company. 

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"I worked in the coal mines for 22 years and that’s how I made my living and supported my family.  I have never seen an outfit treat a community the way TECO Coal has done us...They need to quit doing their mining the way they’re doing.  They’re destroying our timber, streams and mountains all to pieces."   -- Doug Justice, Kentucky coalfield resident

TECO Coal Corporation -- a core component of Florida-based Tampa Electric Company -- conducts mining operations primarily in Eastern Kentucky.  By all accounts, TECO Coal is one of the nation's worst offendors when it comes to mountaintop removal coal mining.  

As part of NRDC's campaign to end mountaintop removal we seek to cut off investments in coal companies that are responsible for this rogue mining, which has leveled roughly 500 Appalachian peaks to date, devastated over a million acres of largely forested landscape, wiped out or contaminated nearly 2,000 miles of fragile headwater streams, and polluted the air and drinking water of countless coalfield communities.  With help from our grassroots allies, we persuaded Bank of America to phase out its funding of companies like Massey Energy that do most of the mountiantop removal in the region. 

Now comes another big victory:  Following several months of discussions, TIAA-CREF -- one of the nation’s largest financial services companies -- has removed TECO from its “socially responsible” mutual fund portfolio Although the utility has undertaken efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions at its power plants, NRDC successfully persuaded TIAA-CREF that TECO does not warrant the status of a “socially responsible" company. 

More significantly, the KLD Corporation -- the firm that creates the overall socially responsible index upon which TIAA-CREF relies for its initial “screen” on investments -- has also dropped TECO. 

"Removing TECO from the 'socially responsible' ranks will most certainly affect many funds totaling billions of dollars, and will very likely result in divestment of tens of millions from TECO," says NRDC Senior Scientist Sami Yassa, who leads NRDC's MTR divestment initiative. 

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Originally posted to rperks on Tue Apr 27, 2010 at 09:25 AM PDT.

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