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Victory for Appalachia: Bank of America to Stop Financing Mountaintop Removal

By Mike Brune

Dec 4, 2008

After all the bad news about mountaintop removal how about a little success?

Yesterday Bank of America, a lead financier of coal, announced that they will be phasing out financing for companies that practice mountaintop removal coal mining, a highly destructive and controversial method of coal extraction. Bank of America’s decision is a giant leap forward in the fight against mountaintop removal, which has devastated Appalachian communities and the mountains and streams on which they depend.

The decision is also a testament to the hard work of Appalachian communities and anti-coal activists across the country, whose collective pressure left Bank of America with little choice but to abandon its support for this barbaric form of resource extraction. There is a powerful movement for clean energy in this country and we are winning!

As the new policy states: Bank of America is particularly concerned about surface mining conducted through mountain top removal in locations such as central Appalachia. We therefore will phase out financing of companies whose predominant method of extracting coal is through mountain top removal. While we acknowledge that surface mining is economically efficient and creates jobs, it can be conducted in a way that minimizes environmental impacts in certain geographies.

At Rainforest Action Network we have been pressuring Bank of America since October 2007 to cease financing mountaintop removal mining and coal-fired power plants and to develop a comprehensive climate policy. We're pleased with Bank of America's announcement and will look forward to learning the details of which coal companies will be ineligible for financing and also when this phase out will be completed. In the meantime, let's hope that Citi, JPMorgan Chase and other banks follow Bank of America's lead.

On a larger scale, banks hold the purse strings for the fossil fuel industry and have tremendous influence in determining whether we continue to destroy our climate and our communities, or whether we start to fund the future with a green new deal that creates a clean energy future. Bank of America's pledge to phase out lending to mountaintop removal mining is an important step in the right direction.  

I'm not that sure about how

I'm not that sure about how financially safe people are. In reality many are still jobless and their credit reports are looking worse every month. Payday loans on the other hand are just a way for companies to take the little cash which a family is getting. Once you take a couple of these in a roll there's very little chance you will step on your feet in the coming months. Credit repair is still a great option but paying a scammy company is what happens to many unfortunate people. Unless you spend a ton of time reading free blogs there's little chance you will sort out the good companies from the bad ones.

As time goes by, the

As time goes by, the recession continuously devastating more and more American families, the consumers, businesses and companies are also feeling the pinch. The consumers are forced to tighten their belt because of this situation. Some people are fortunate enough to be financially well off and have no need for any short term financial assistance, such as payday loans or credit repair services. The average person in the middle class, however, is not as privileged. They strive to make an acceptable income to care for their families, some having no choice but to live paycheck to paycheck. While it’s a fact of life that some are rich and financially capable in most or every area while others have to worry about the “little” things, there is another disturbing fact that is becoming more obvious by the minute. It seems that the executive class, who helped generate the recession that many of us are currently suffering from, are on the move to get even more money to award their indiscretion. Reported in a recent article published in the Wall Street Journal, Merrill Lynch CEO John Thain is out to get a $10 million bonus payment. This is after the company he was hired to run had almost completely run out of cash, and was facing bankruptcy. The situation was so desperate he had to eventually sell the company to Bank of America to keep the currency flowing. New York State Attorney General Andrew Cuomo has called it “nothing less than shocking,” and that is a fair assessment, to adequately put it. It’s rare for any of us to be rewarded for failure. In fact, most would most likely get fired. These big-time executives should be receiving the same treatment as the average person in this country. Why should they be rewarded for their help causing the global economic disaster? Greed is the last thing we need during this critical time. However, if you need help to cover a sudden cash emergency, don’t sell yourself to Bank of America. Keep in mind you still have other options.

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