Saving mountains from mining

Bank of America Corp will sharply cut lending to coal mining companies that do mountain top removal mining for coal.. National Resource Defense Council and its coalition members have been educating and applying enough consistant pressure to win this first giant step toward saving the mountaintops in the Appalachian range. Below is a diagram of the process.

mtnexpo

This precedent setting move by Bank of America, the top U.S. bank, has dealt another financial blow to the Bush administration efforts to wrap up the environment as a holiday present for big business and the coal industry. However, Bush has signed off this week on a gift to coal companies making it easier for coal companies to dump debris from mountaintop mining into nearby valleys and streams.

The coal industry has downplayed Bank of America’s action, saying that refusing loans in this area of mining would only affect 10 % of industry production and would not mean major changes for its operations. However, the environmental coalition sees Bank of America as setting the stage for other banks to follow suit which would leave mining companies scrambling for funds.

“About 470 mountaintops in Appalachia, including the one next to Coal River, have been destroyed. Mountaintop removal mining is faster and cheaper than underground mining, but its impact on the environment is much worse. ” (1)
To see how a mountain top is removing to get at the coal http://www.mountainjusticesummer.org/facts/steps.php


Coal is abundant in the United States, but the industy has not retooled and sunk the money into developing cleaner less invasive mining methods and coal itself produces lots of emissions that increase global warming. All plant based fuels whether plant the plants are grown today or from coal are dirty fuels.

Coal and the livelihood of the people in the rugged beautiful Appalachian mountains which spans the states of Virginia, West Virginia, Tennessee and Kentucky is at the heart of solving the energy crises in America. The mountaintops in this area are beginning to look as if a giant went through the area and chopped off the tops to get to the coal.

Bank of America is particularly concerned about surface mining conducted through mountain top removal in locations such as central Appalachia,” the bank said in a recent statement on its website.

“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,” the bank added. (2)

Rainforest Action Network, a major critic of mountaintop removal, had targeted Bank of America and Citigroup Inc for their financing of coal energy, from extraction to power plants.

The possibility of carbon taxes that would make coal more expensive to burn and a weak economy have helped shelve plans for many U.S. coal-run power plants, the network said. (2)

This is how the Appalachian mountains look as Mother Nature intended them.

getimage2

Excerpts from

1. The battle over Coal River Mountain -Deborah Feyerick CNN’s “American Morning” http://www.cnn.com/2008/US/10/07/coal.river/index.html?eref=rss_us

2. Bank cuts coal loans as Washington eases rules– Peter Henderson Reuters December 4, 2008
http://www.reuters.com/article/rbssBanks/idUSN0442553120081205?sp=true
Video of strip mining http://www.cnn.com/2008/US/10/07/coal.river/index.html?eref=rss_us

Diagram courtesy of http://www.mountainjusticesummer.org/facts/steps.php

Image courtesy of

http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/Image:Appalachians_NC_BLRI9242.jpg#file

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