Activists Drape 50-Foot Banner Across From Bank of America Headquarters, Call on Bank to Stop Funding Dirty Coal

For Immediate Release:

October 23, 2007

Rainforest Action Network accuses financial giant of destroying Appalachian communities, environment

SAN FRANCISCO – Activists with Rainforest Action Network’s (RAN) Global Finance Campaign draped a 50-foot banner reading “Bank of America: Funding Coal, Killing Communities” across the street from Bank of America’s downtown Charlotte, N.C., headquarters this morning. The group is urging the financial giant to stop funding mountaintop removal coal mining and the construction of new coal-fired power plants.

A highly destructive method of coal extraction, mountaintop removal involves exploding the tops off of mountains to reach the coal within and dumping the rubble in adjoining valleys – choking streams and increasing flood risks for local communities. Bank of America has invested billions of dollars in companies that practice mountaintop removal in the Appalachian region, including Massey Energy, Arch Coal and Alpha Natural Resources. These companies are responsible for the loss of millions of acres of forests and mountains and the decimation of communities throughout Appalachia.

“Mountaintop removal and dirty coal plants have no place in our modern economy,” said Rebecca Tarbotton, director of RAN’s Global Finance Campaign. “Mountaintop removal flattens mountain ranges and transforms healthy mountain woodlands into toxic sludge and rubble that clogs mountain streams. Communities throughout Appalachia are being devastated by this shameful practice. If Bank of America and other financial institutions would shift their investments from coal to renewable energies such as wind and solar power, we could meet all our energy demands by mid-century without using any coal at all.”

“Here in West Virginia, coal companies are using 3 1/2 millions pounds of explosives a day to bomb our homes and mountains,” said Julia ‘Judy’ Bonds, founder of Coal River Mountain Watch. “They are poisoning our water and our air. I want Bank of America to realize that when it funds coal companies, it is ruining lives and killing our communities.”

More than 150 new coal-fired power plants are currently being planned throughout the U.S. at a projected cost of $125 billion. These plants will emit millions of tons of carbon dioxide and other dangerous toxins, such as mercury, into the atmosphere annually. RAN is urging banks to follow the recommendations of NASA’s chief climate scientist, Dr. James Hansen, who has called for a moratorium on all new coal-fired power plants. A United Nations scientific panel tasked with studying the issue also warned against further development and construction of conventional coal-fired power plants.

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