Protests at 15 PNC Bank branches across Eastern Seaboard, from OH to WV
Largest single-day protest against PNC’s investments in mountaintop removal
Quakers, students, and community activists held the largest coordinated action of their campaign at 15 PNC banks across the eastern seaboard today as part of Earth Quaker Action Team’s effort to curb PNC’s investments in a controversial strip mining practice known as mountaintop removal. At many locations, activists brought samples of drinking water taken from a family well in Eunice, WV that had been contaminated by mountaintop removal operations.
Demonstrations included a banner drop over a highway in Morgantown, West Virginia, mock “taste tests” of contaminated water in Princeton NJ, a parade of toxic chemicals and a 15 person sit-in inside a bank in Bryn Mawr, PA, account closings, and more. ”PNC comes from a merger between Pittsburgh National and Provident Bank, which has a Quaker heritage” said Amy Ward Brimmer, Executive Director of EQAT. “As Quakers, if PNC is going to advertise itself as a ‘Green’ bank, it’s important to us that they act with integrity and live up to their environmental commitments.” Mountaintop removal has destroyed over 500 mountains in Appalachia and buried over 2000 miles of streams, leaching toxic chemicals into the water table, toxins that have been linked to health conditions such as cancer and birth defects.
“We know PNC can do better, and we are committed to using nonviolence to stand up for the people of Appalachia.” said Bryn Mawr student Samantha Shain. “A full sector exclusion [on mountaintop removal investments] will bring Appalachia closer to having clean and safe drinking water for everyone.” Two years ago, in response to demonstrations by Earth Quaker Action Team, PNC updated their Corporate Responsibility Report with a policy that prohibits investments in coal companies that source more than 50% of their coal from mountaintop removal. The updated policy, however, does not apply to any of the six largest mountaintop removal corporations that PNC does business with and has not significantly impacted PNC’s investments in the industry, according to a report from the Rainforest Action Network.
Earth Quaker Action Team is a Quaker-based direct action group whose current campaign is “Bank Like Appalachia Matters.” To support their goals, EQAT has organized an initiative encouraging individuals, Quaker meetings, and institutions to remove their money from PNC.
Actions occurred at PNC Bank branches in:
New Castle County, DE
Bala Cynwyd, PA
North Philadelphia, PA
West Chester, PA
Bryn Mawr College, PA
Swarthmore College, PA
Center City, Philadelphia, PA
Morgantown University, WV
Cincinnati University, OH