Mountaintop removal day of action on December 1st, 2012
Members of Earth Quaker Action Team (EQAT) and the Delaware Chapter of the Sierra Club are taking action against mountaintop removal coal mining through “Green Your Money”, a PNC Bank divestment campaign.
The goal of “Green Your Money” is to convince PNC Bank, one of the nation’s leading financers of mountaintop removal coal mining, to adopt a sector exclusion banking policy that protects communities and our climate. We ask PNC Bank to stop financing mountaintop removal coal mining.
Bank customers are leaving PNC and taking their money elsewhere. $2 million has already been moved out of PNC Bank during the first months of this campaign. We choose to bank like the environment matters, and to move our money to banks and credit unions with investment practices more consistent with environmental values.
On December 1, 2012 thirteen local participants with EQAT and the Delaware Chapter of the Sierra Club took a sample of tap water contaminated by mountaintop removal coal mining from Eunice, West Virginia into PNC Bank’s Hockessin Branch to show bank personnel and customers. Participants also carried the “Green Your Money” pledge.
Today, we stand for Right Relationship with the Earth and we demand that PNC end all financial support for mountaintop removal coal mining.
We make this demand in order to:
We pledge to close our account(s) with PNC Bank -- or encourage our friends and community members to do the same -- unless PNC stops lending money to and investing in any companies that practice mountaintop removal coal mining. We will begin closing our accounts on June 1st if PNC does not establish this sector exclusion policy by Thursday, May 31st, 2012.
During the action, bank staff responded that no branch manager was present to service the three participants who were PNC customers or to speak with members of the group. Participants remained in the bank lobby until asked to leave by police officers, who were called to the scene by the PNC corporate office. Police politely asked us to leave the bank premises or risk arrest and the non-customer participants went outside to display a large banner to passers-by and to distribute leaflets describing the campaign. The PNC customer-participants waited in the bank lobby and appreciated conversation with the police officers, security guard and bank customers, until the previously-unavailable PNC staff person arrived at the bank branch. Delaware’s participants joined a total of 200 in 15 actions at PNC Banks in 5 states and Washington, D.C. as well as on 4-5 college campuses on December 1, 2012.
Mountaintop removal mining has destroyed more than 500 Appalachian Mountains and buried over 2000 miles of fresh-water streams. Residents in affected areas suffer significantly elevated levels of cancer, organ failures, birth defects and deaths from water pollution and air pollution. The well-water samples brought to Earth Quakers by citizens in West Virginia contain arsenic, lead, mercury, selenium, and other heavy metals. Many households can no longer use their tap water, even for bathing or washing. Reviewed, published scientific articles have proliferated in recent years showing devastation to people, especially babies and the environment in locations where the mining occurs. Advocacy on mountaintop removal coal mining and similar “extreme extraction” methods is expected to continue until this devastating practice is stopped.
Pictured above (left to right): Barbara Walker, Denis Newbold, Shawn Baynard, Gail Newbold, Judy Winters, Stephanie Herron, Peter Sullivan (kneeling) Marianne Whitlock, Tricia Herron, and Erica Newbold.
Our thanks to Gail Newbold for coordinating this action and to Steve C. for taking these photographs.