Rainforest Action Network Welcomes JPMorgan’s First Public Statement on Controversial Mountaintop Removal Coal Mining

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Monday, May 17, 2010

SAN FRANCISCO (May 17, 2010) – Just one day before their Annual General Shareholder meeting, JPMorgan Chase released their 2009 Corporate Responsibility Report including its first public statement on financing for companies that practice mountaintop removal (MTR) coal mining. As laid out in the CR report, JPMorgan “has undertaken an enhanced review of all proposed banking transactions for companies engaged in MTR….includ[ing] considerations of a company’s regulatory compliance history, as well as exposure to future regulatory changes and litigation risks, particularly as they relate to valley fills and water quality issues.”

Below is a statement in response to JPMorgan’s enhanced review of companies that finance MTR from Amanda Starbuck of the Rainforest Action Network, which has been publicly campaigning for JPMorgan to release a clear exclusion policy on financing for all companies who practice mountaintop removal mining for more than a year. JPMorgan’s new guidance on MTR comes just days after a report issued by Rainforest Action Network, the Sierra Club and BankTrack found that JPMorgan, PNC and UBS were the lead financiers of companies practicing MTR.

“Rainforest Action Network is encouraged by JPMorgan’s move to address its financing of mountaintop removal coal mining, the devastating practice of blowing up the Appalachian Mountains and contaminating drinking water for a tiny amount of coal. This is a welcome step forward.

“JPMorgan has joined but not surpassed Bank of America and Citi who both announced financing guidelines on mountaintop removal coal mining in 2008. If JPMorgan wants to lead instead of follow on environmental responsibility, the way forward is a complete phase-out of mountaintop removal coal financing.

“We are encouraged to see that JPMorgan is no longer financing Massey Energy, the leading MTR company in the country which is currently facing criminal charges for last month’s fatal mine explosion. We will continue to monitor JPMorgan’s lending to ensure that its new position on mountaintop removal coal mining impacts reality on-the-ground for the people of Appalachia.

“JPMorgan’s statements on mountaintop removal coal mining are a testament to the hard work of Appalachian communities and activists across the country, whose collective pressure left JPMorgan with little choice but to begin addressing its support for this devastating form of resource extraction.”

To view JPMorgan Chase’s CR report and MTR statements, please visit:
http://tiny.cc/za5bk

For more information about JPMorgan Chase and MTR, please visit: www.ran.org/reportcard

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Rainforest Action Network runs hard-hitting campaigns to break North America’s fossil fuels addiction, protect endangered forests and Indigenous rights, and stop destructive investments around the world through education, grassroots organizing, and non-violent direct action. For more information, please visit: www.ran.org