PNC Bank will no longer fund mountain top removal

Mountaintop removal (MTR) coal mining is a really, really bad idea (see Science explodes myth of clean coal: “The preponderance of scientific evidence that impacts are pervasive and irreversible and that mitigation cannot compensate for losses”).

Now PNC Bank, the top funder of MTR, has announced an end to its support for the ecologically devastating practice. Brad Johnson has the story.

“This move makes PNC bank number seven to issue a position on MTR,” the Rainforest Action Network’s Amanda Starbuck writes, “following in the footsteps of Bank of America, Citi, Morgan Stanley, JPMorgan Chase, Wells Fargo and Credit Suisse.” PNC’s decision leaves UBS and GE Capital the only major banks that support mountaintop removal. After the Bush administration rewrote rules to encourage the blowing up of mountains for their coal, the Appalachians were rapidly reshaped by rapacious coal companies. This year, the Obama administration once again began enforcing laws against the total destruction of public waters and land, after scientists revealed the full extent of the immoral practice. Now, PNC Bank will neither fund MTR projects nor make loans to companies like Massey Energy that specialize in MTR:

MTR is the subject of increasing regulatory and legislative scrutiny, with a focus on the permitting of MTR mines. While this extraction method is permitted, PNC will not provide funding to individual MTR projects, nor will PNC provide credit to coal producers whose primary extraction method is MTR. PNC will continue to monitor this industry while various regulatory issues are addressed through legislation and public policy.

Before this decision, PNC provided financing for six of the biggest MTR coal mining companies “” Massey, Arch Coal, Patriot Coal, Alpha, International Coal Group, and CONSOL “” who were responsible for nearly half of all mountaintop removal mining in 2009.

– Brad Johnson, in a ThinkProgress cross-post.

5 Responses to PNC Bank will no longer fund mountain top removal

  1. catman306 says:

    “PNC’s decision leaves UBS and GE Capital the only major banks that support mountaintop removal.”

    Well personally, I don’t have many dealings with UBS or GE Capital, so I doubt if my boycotting them would be noticed. But I can say that their management are uncaring, greedy, stupid, selfish, thugs against nature. They won’t notice that, either.

    But since I posted about this possibility of shutting off the financial spigot for MTR over at RealClimate about 5 years ago, I am overjoyed. Like Cindi said, money changes everything. And so does the lack of it.

    We need greener banks, banks that are also committed to keeping what’s left of our environment.

  2. Solar Jim says:

    How is that ecoimagination thing going over at GE? Sounds like they are still nuking the climate with MTR. Or just nuking the government so they can have more taxpayer handouts via loan guarantees for nukes? That will solve our deficit, radioactivity leaks and planet heating problems, won’t it? Of course it will, because it is clean and green, and spent fuel rods are forever. That’s what the bloody Brits are planning too. All for one and one for all. Whether coal, petroleum or uranium, it is permanent, poisonous, unsustainable debt that cooks the books. We must love debts, they are so pervasive in western governance. Let’s go mining for “energy.”

  3. Roger Wehage says:

    Maybe it’s because Emmylou Harris says strip mining is destroying country music.

  4. Bill W says:

    Hurrah for PNC Bank, who’s now my favorite bank I’ve never heard of! :)

  5. Leif says:

    With all the skill that the mountain top removal coal mines have at moving dirt I would think that cleaning up their ash avalanches from ruptured holding ponds would be duck soup. Hell it is not like we are asking them to remove billions of tons of CO2 from the atmosphere… YET! I suspect that the coal companies figure that they did not burn it so it is not their problem. They have however spent large sums of money preventing other sustainable solutions from happening so I would think that Coal is culpable to some degree.