MINUTE APPROVED BY PROVIDENCE FRIENDS MEETING ON OCTOBER 7, 2012
Providence Friends Meeting unites with 57 percent of informed voters in a recent poll in West Virginia, Kentucky, Tennessee and Virginia; also with the Earth Quaker Action Team’s Bank Like Appalachia Matters (BLAM) campaign, and many individual members of the Religious Society of Friends, Friends Meetings, and other Quaker organizations. We call for an end to the environmentally devastating surface mining practice called mountaintop removal coal mining
The two U. S. banks most heavily invested in this practice are PNC Bank (now the fifth largest in the country) and Bank of America. Already over 500 Appalachian mountains have been destroyed and more than 2000 miles of rivers and streams – the headwaters that feed the entire southeastern United States – have been buried and contaminated.
A number of recent peer-reviewed scientific studies (National Academy of Sciences, American Journal of Public Health, Science and other publications) show that communities near mountaintop removal sites suffer increased rates of birth defects, heart, lung and kidney disease, and multiple forms of cancer. Mountaintop removal requires fewer workers to extract more coal, leaving less economic wealth in the communities that suffer from the direct impacts of the practice.
We are persuaded that mountaintop removal coal mining is inconsistent with our Quaker values and historic testimonies, as well as our emerging understanding of the stewardship required to live in harmony with creation.
We encourage all Meeting members, and particularly those who are banking with PNC Bank or Bank of America, to consider whether a local bank or credit union might serve the community in a manner more consistent with Friends’ deepest values.
We ask our Clerk of Providence Meeting, Lynn Oberfield, to send this Minute to James E. Rohr, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of PNC Financial Services Group, and to Charles Holliday, Chairman of the Board of Bank of America, urging both banks to change their policies and stop investing in mountaintop removal coal mining.
To further underscore our action, we intend to distribute this Minute widely, including to the media.