PNC Bank, the top funder of mountaintop removal (MTR) coal mining, has announced that it will end its support for the ecologically devastating practice. “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.