Skip to main content

Although the clean energy economy is gaining steam and our use of coal is declining, my home region of Appalachia is still threatened by mountaintop removal coal mining.

We've seen it with the overturning of the veto for the massive Spruce No. 1 mountaintop removal coal site in West Virginia, we've seen it as West Virginians continue to fight Arch Coal for its plans to strip mine historic Blair Mountain - and those are just two examples. Day after day, families in West Virginia, Kentucky, Virginia, and Tennessee continue to suffer from damaged homes, polluted air and water, and threats to their health caused by mountaintop removal.

It's important to remember that these attacks on Appalachia's mountains and communities don't just come from coal companies, but also from the banks that finance these operations. Banks with household names are complicit in polluting our air and water, threatening the health of Appalachian families, and destroying our natural heritage.

That's why today the Rainforest Action and Sierra Club are releasing a report detailing the five filthiest banks in our third annual "Coal Finance Report Card." This year, we looked at not only financing of mountaintop removal, but also at financing of the coal fired power plants that are our nation's biggest source of the sulfur pollution that harms our health, the mercury pollution that harms our children, and the carbon pollution that harms our planet.

The report looks at the stated policies for mountaintop removal and coal financing from each of the largest U.S. banks and assigns a letter grade to how well they uphold these policies based on investments, transactions, and ownership of coal mining and coal burning utility companies.

Here are the worst of the worst:
Coal Finance report card grades

My colleague at RAN states it well: "These banks are the ATMs for a dirty industry that is bad for health and bad for business," said Amanda Starbuck, Director of RAN's Energy and Finance Program. "Coal is the ultimate subprime investment for the climate."

We're not the only organizations seeing the problem with financial organizations investing in dirty energy. This week also marks a huge 200-mile march across Pennsylvania by a coalition of groups hoping PNC Bank (headquartered in Pennsylvania) will stop financing mountaintop removal coal mining. Spread-headed by the Earth Quaker Action Team, the walk is part of their fantastic "Bank Like Appalachia Matters" campaign.

Through today's report, Sierra Club and RAN are not only pointing out where banks are failing as energy and climate leaders, but also we are reaffirming our strong commitment to work with the companies to adopt and implement meaningful policies on coal.

Protecting the health and safety of our families is everyone's responsibility - including those that fund this destructive and dirty practice.  We hope this report card helps draw attention and scrutiny to those who are bankrolling some of the biggest polluters in our country.

EMAIL TO A FRIEND X
Your Email has been sent.
You must add at least one tag to this diary before publishing it.

Add keywords that describe this diary. Separate multiple keywords with commas.
Tagging tips - Search For Tags - Browse For Tags

?

More Tagging tips:

A tag is a way to search for this diary. If someone is searching for "Barack Obama," is this a diary they'd be trying to find?

Use a person's full name, without any title. Senator Obama may become President Obama, and Michelle Obama might run for office.

If your diary covers an election or elected official, use election tags, which are generally the state abbreviation followed by the office. CA-01 is the first district House seat. CA-Sen covers both senate races. NY-GOV covers the New York governor's race.

Tags do not compound: that is, "education reform" is a completely different tag from "education". A tag like "reform" alone is probably not meaningful.

Consider if one or more of these tags fits your diary: Civil Rights, Community, Congress, Culture, Economy, Education, Elections, Energy, Environment, Health Care, International, Labor, Law, Media, Meta, National Security, Science, Transportation, or White House. If your diary is specific to a state, consider adding the state (California, Texas, etc). Keep in mind, though, that there are many wonderful and important diaries that don't fit in any of these tags. Don't worry if yours doesn't.

You can add a private note to this diary when hotlisting it:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary from your hotlist?
Are you sure you want to remove your recommendation? You can only recommend a diary once, so you will not be able to re-recommend it afterwards.
Rescue this diary, and add a note:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary from Rescue?
Choose where to republish this diary. The diary will be added to the queue for that group. Publish it from the queue to make it appear.

You must be a member of a group to use this feature.

Add a quick update to your diary without changing the diary itself:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary?
(The diary will be removed from the site and returned to your drafts for further editing.)
(The diary will be removed.)
Are you sure you want to save these changes to the published diary?

Comment Preferences

Subscribe or Donate to support Daily Kos.

Click here for the mobile view of the site