Why PNC Bank?
PNC Bank, now the fifth largest bank in the United States, has an historical connection to the Religious Society of Friends (Quakers). PNC positions itself as an engaged corporate citizen committed to the environment.
PNC is also one of the top financiers for companies that practice mountaintop removal coal mining. EQAT is challenging PNC to bring its investment practices into integrity with its publicly stated environmental values.
Why EQAT is focusing our first campaign on PNC Bank?
- PNC is our connection to mountaintop removal.
- PNC is connected to Quakers.
- PNC claims to be different.
- And yet, PNC Bank is still a leading financier of mountaintop removal coal mining.
- It is time for PNC to acknowledge the full costs of mountaintop removal coal mining and to experience the full liabilities of financing companies that practice it!
- EQAT's campaign reveals the hidden cost of mountaintop removal and seeks to put some of those costs directly back onto PNC bank.
- Stand with the people and communities of Appalachia!
Every PNC account provides funds which PNC can use to finance their loans which support the practice of mountaintop removal coal mining.
Mountaintop removal coal, funded by PNC, comes back to our communities, providing electricity and contributing to higher asthma rates.
PNC Bank was founded in 1982 in the merger of Pittsburgh National Corporation and Provident National Corporation, a financial services company founded by Quakers in mid 1800’s and informally known as “The Quaker Bank.”
Today many Quaker individuals and Quaker organizations still have accounts with PNC.
PNC Bank claims to be a “Green Bank” and trumpets its awards for green building construction:
“Among America's top financial institutions, no company has done more to energize the green cause more than PNC.”
PNC acknowledged that mountaintop removal coal mining is an issue worthy of special concern in its 2011 Corporate Responsibility Statement:
"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."
According to the Rainforest Action Network, PNC is still one of the top financiers of companies that practice mountaintop removal in the United States.
In 2011, PNC provided loans for 4 of the 5 largest coal companies. These 4 companies account for 47% of all mountaintop removal coal mining.
PNC has repeatedly refused to provide information about the actual impact of its 2011 mountaintop removal policy on loans to coal companies.
It is time for PNC to acknowledge the full costs of mountaintop removal coal mining and to experience the full liabilities of financing companies that practice it!
Investment banking is the business of finding opportunities and avoiding risk. Because mountaintop removal is efficient and cheap, it can be a profitable investment opportunity for banks like PNC. But mountaintop removal is only profitable when the full ecological and health costs are “externalized” – disconnected from their true source and left to be covered by government and the general public.
EQAT believes PNC has more to gain from building a sustainable energy market and a diversified, environmentally-enlightened economy in Appalachia and much to lose from wringing the last dollars out of a dying and immoral Appalachian coal industry.
Other mountaintop removal activists focus on other pieces of the puzzle:
- Direct action in the coal fields: Radical Action for Mountain People's Survival (RAMPS)
- Demanding enforcement of existing regulations: Appalachian Voices
- Lobbying for stronger protections: iLoveMountains.org
- Organizing Appalachian communities: Kentuckians for the Commonwealth
- Educating and recruiting allies: National Council of Churches of Christ Eco-Justice Programs
EQAT’s piece is to choke off the financing for coal companies that practice mountaintop removal coal mining.
EQAT’s campaign reveals the hidden cost of mountaintop removal and seeks to put some of those costs directly back onto PNC bank.
By withdrawing public support for PNC because of its involvement in mountaintop removal, we can increase the costs and decrease the profit of their financing of this devastating practice.
We are doing this by
- Pulling off the veil from PNC’s green image by publicizing its close association with mountaintop removal coal mining.
- Supporting student leaders on campuses where PNC has exclusive banking service contracts. Student groups oppose PNC contracts and organize campaigns to close individual PNC accounts (see video on right).
- Organizing this Green Your Money initiative to take business away from PNC.
PNC Chairman and CEO, James E. Rohr is quoted on the PNC website saying “A business cannot succeed if its communities are not well positioned for future growth and success.”
We agree. Our shared interest is in a prosperous Appalachian community, where the people are healthy and their lives are successful.
In such a future, mountaintop removal coal mining has no part to play.
By joining together, we can take the private profit out of financing climate change.