Support for those in jail is ongoing! Keep Earth Quakers Karen Leitner, Vint Deming, Carolyn McCoy, Lee Reinert, and Gail Newbold in your thoughts as we wait for their release!
More updates coming soon + pics + video!
PHILADELPHIA – Five members of the Earth Quaker Action Team, ranging in age from 20 to 78, were arrested today inside PNC Bank’s Regional Headquarters, at 1600 Market St., during a “sit-in” to call attention to the Bank’s $500 million dollar investments in mountaintop removal: a coal mining practice that has lead to vanishing jobs and thousands of Clean Water Act violations.
“PNC claims they invest in mountaintop removal because of the jobs it provides, but research shows that mountaintop removal provides far fewer long-term jobs than wind power,” said Amy Ward Brimmer of EQAT. “On top of the environmental impacts, mountaintop removal has caused a steady decrease in mining jobs since the practice began, trapping some of the poorest people in America on toxic land without hope of employment.”
Activists cited research from Downstream Strategies, whose case-study analysis of Raleigh County, W.V. demonstrated that wind development on Coal River Mountain would provide 28% more long-term jobs than a 6,000 acre mountaintop removal site in the same location, as well as over 50 times the annual tax revenue.
Quakers, numbering 25 inside the bank, raised two 8′ tall windmills to highlight the opportunity costs of PNC’s policies, asking Regional President Bill Mills to come speak to the discrepancies between PNC’s stated “Green” values and their investment strategy, although the bank declined the invitation. In light of the Quaker community’s historic relationship with PNC Bank, 5 Earth Quakers pledged to remain beside the windmills until the President came to the lobby; instead, Earth Quakers Karen Leitner, Vint Deming, Carolyn McCoy, Lee Reinert, and Gail Newbold were escorted out peacefully and taken to the 21st and Hamilton police precinct.
“PNC has a choice to make about what future they want to invest in,” said Ingrid Lakey, Director of the Earth Quaker Action Team. “You can’t build windmills if you blow up the mountains. Instead of being a leading financier of mountaintop removal, PNC could be a leader in the clean energy economy. But it’s up to them.”