Shareholders Protest Bank of America to Stop Mountain Top Removal
There was a brewing crowd of angry protestors in front of Bank of America in Charlotte, North Carolina on Wednesday. An annual shareholders meeting was being held giving angry citizens perfect opportunity to let their voices be heard. A mixture of homeowners, environmental activists, students, and Occupiers were ranting about a few different ongoing matters they have with the major bank. The key issues were the bank’s continuous habits of funding the dirty coal industry for mountain top removal mining (MTR) and their lack of effort to sever the mortgage crisis.
Mountain top removal mining is the damaging process where companies seek out coal in the seams of mountains by blowing them up. It has also been referred to as “strip mining on steroids.” Most MTR occurs in the Appalachian Mountains in West Virginia, Kentucky and Tennessee. The reason that coal companies prefer this method is because it is much cheaper, requires fewer workers, and is more effective than the underground form of mining for coal.
These concerned activists are not just picketing because Bank of America is assisting with blowing up pretty mountains, it’s because the process is very harmful to the people of Appalachia and completely decimating one of the richest and most biodiverse areas of the country. The area is nationally recognized as a hot spot for amazing biodiversity, dense indigenous forests, rare native species, and exceptional topography.
A lot of the debate lies with the valley fill dumpoff that covers important and vital headwater streams that support the entire eco system of the area.
In simple terms, coal companies drive in on their house-sized machinery, through the tiny backwood country roads disturbing the peace of these small towns. They then blow the tops off mountains with high powered explosives that are so intense they rattle neighborhoods nearby and crack foundations. The rubble is then dumped onto intermittent little headwater streams that provide integral support to flora and fauna native to the region. This eventually causes acid drainage and a host of other harmful pollutants to enter major rivers like the Hudson. Not to mention, coal particulates linger in the air from constant explosions causing people living nearby to experience high rates of lung problems, kidney issues, and cancer.
Taking you inside of Bank of America Courtesy of the Huffington Post:
Coal River Mountain Watch President Bob Kincaid puts CEO of B of A Brian Moynihan on the spot…
“You are part of the poisoning of Appalachia and so is every one of your directors and so is every one of your shareholders,” Kincaid said. “You are part of the destruction of an entire region of the country.”
“Sir, our environmental team will take a look at it. We look at it all the time,” Moynihan said.The crowd responded with jeers.
Needless to say, the protest got a bit out of hand as several people were arrested trying to trespass barricades to get into the shareholders meeting. It was estimated a total of 750 people showed up that day. According to the Rainforest action network, Bank of America is the number one financer of MTR and even though they stated years ago they were going to phase it out they still pour billions into the industry every year.
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