JPMorgan Chase dropping mountain destructio​n

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Tell the Banks to Stop Financing Mountain Destruction

RanThis could be the tipping point for the horrific practice of Mountaintop Removal coal mining.

Just this week, JPMorgan Chase updated its environmental policy, revealing that it will be ending financial relationships with Mountaintop Removal coal mining companies.

Wells Fargo and BNP Paribas/Bank of the West have recently taken similar steps. If the other major banks commit to stop financing mountaintop removal, fossil fuel companies will have no choice but to end the obliteration of mountains and poisoning of communities for coal.

tell Bank of America, Citigroup, Goldman Sachs and Morgan Stanley to stop financing Mountaintop Removal coal mining!

Mountaintop Removal (MTR) is a mining practice that uses explosives to literally blow the tops off mountains for the coal inside. The rubble is then pushed into streams and poisons the water supply for thousands of people. This is morally unacceptable and why many, many local communities in Appalachia, along with activists around the world, are taking a stand against MTR.

For more than five years, Rainforest Action Network members like you have demanded JPMorgan Chase and other banks drop MTR financing. And while we’ll have to remain vigilant to ensure JPMorgan Chase stays on the path away from MTR, the bank’s new policy demonstrates that your activism is working.

JPMorgan Chase will no longer be doing business with companies like Alpha Natural Resources—the worst of the worst when it comes to MTR. Last month, the EPA issued Alpha the largest water pollution discharge penalty in the history of the Clean Water Act. The company also faces ten lawsuits over water pollution at its MTR mines.;

JPMorgan Chase, the largest bank in the United States, shows that the smart money is leaving companies like Alpha Natural Resources. Other major banks do not want to be singled out for continuing to support environmental destruction and poisoning communities.

Tell the banks to drop Alpha Natural Resources and adopt a policy to phase out MTR financing.

Our movement is truly turning the tide against MTR. Companies like Alpha Natural Resources need financing from big banks to continue the destruction. If we make sure the banks can’t hide their responsibility for keeping MTR alive, we can force them to act to protect their image.

JPMorgan Chase is acting to protect its image right now by moving out of MTR financing. Let’s use that momentum. Send the banks a message today and help end Mountaintop Removal coal mining once and for all.

Campaigner Name

For healthy communities and a healthy ecosystem,

Amanda Starbuck
Energy and Finance Program Director


Photo Credit: Kent Kessinger/Appalachian Voices


Keystone XL: Where Things Stand

Rainforest Action Network

It’s been four weeks since the climate movement won a significant delay on the Keystone XL pipeline. Since then, the oil industry and their political and media backers have gotten increasingly desperate:

  • Oil companies tried to ram a vote on Keystone through the U.S. Senate. This week, that effort collapsed in disarray and finger-pointing among the fossil fuel industry’s biggest political boosters.
  • TransCanada, the Canadian company behind Keystone, even resorted to threats to sue the U.S. government under NAFTA. Early this month, they were forced to disavow that outrageous tactic.
  • Pro-Keystone commentators are truly grasping at straws, including claiming that President Obama is delaying a decision to pave the way for a government takeover of the energy sector,1 and arguing that it’s the poor, under-resourced oil industry—and not the environmental movement—that’s the real underdog in the fight over the pipeline.2

These bottom-of-the-barrel tactics signal that fossil fuel corporations will do anything to avoid facing up to the view that one prominent analyst voiced last week: “We have been of the opinion for nearly a year now that Keystone XL is dead.”3

This delay means another year that tar sands oil stays in the ground, instead of flowing through the pipeline. This delay is another nail in the coffin of this disastrous project. And you—the incredible grassroots tide of resolve and determination—are the ones who made this happen.

Keystone would have been just another routine dirty energy infrastructure project if not for public pressure—like the unprecedented 2.5 million public comments submitted into the approvals process. People all along the pipeline route, from Alberta to the Gulf Coast—especially Indigenous communities and farming communities—mobilized against the project.

Another key factor has been the threat of massive civil disobedience if President Obama approves the pipeline—one veteran environmental campaigner called it the “sharpest arrow in the quiver” of the Keystone opposition movement. Almost 100,000 people signed Keystone XL Pledge of Resistance, committing to take direct action if the administration lights the fuse of the continent’s biggest carbon bomb.

So while we’re proud that the movement won a major delay, the struggle is far from over. Here at Rainforest Action Network, we’re staying vigilant on Keystone. We’re continuing to hone the cutting edge of the climate movement by training committed activists. And we’re taking fast, strategic action to block dirty energy deals.

Thank you for all you’ve done.

Amanda Starbuck


For a healthy climate,

Amanda Starbuck
Energy and Finance Program Director


P.S. Alongside our work on Keystone, RAN is engaged in a range of dirty energy fights. We’ve successfully pressured banks like JPMorgan Chase to move away from mountaintop removal (MTR) coal mining, and we’re approaching a tipping point with Barclays, the world’s biggest financier of MTR. Add your voice!


1. “Obama Blocks Keystone To Start Energy Takeover,” Investor’s Business Daily, May 13, 2014 (
2. “Mainstream media don’t know Big Green has deeper pockets than Big Oil,” Washington Examiner, May 13, 2014 (
3. “The Keystone Pipeline is Quickly Becoming Obsolete,” Business Insider, May 7, 2014 (

Emergency call to Save Blair Mountain …Amanda Starbuck, Rainforest Action Network

Rainforest Action Network
Tell Arch Coal To Stop Mining Blair Mountain
Blair Mt
Take Action

Mountaintop removal coal mining is destroying the mountains and threatening the health and lives of communities across Appalachia. But people in Appalachia are standing up and today they need your support.

Residents of Blair, West Virginia have noticed increased activity from mining company Arch Coal around Blair Mountain — site of the largest labor uprising in American history. Residents are becoming increasingly concerned about Arch’s activities and fear they will move forward with plans to mine the historic location.

Take action today – call Arch Coal to save Blair Mountain.

Arch Coal has four planned operations on Blair Mountain, some of which intrude onto the battlefield. Today, this multi-billion dollar company will announce its profits from the fourth quarter of last year. Whatever those earnings are, the company has a responsibility to the community in which it operates.

Folks in Appalachia won’t stand for Arch Coal’s plan to destroy their community and our nation’s history just so the coal company can increase its profit margin, and we shouldn’t either.

Call Arch CEO, Steven Leer, today and tell him that Appalachian communities should not fall victim to pad his profit margin.

Call Arch’s St. Louis headquarters: (314) 994-2700
Call Arch’s Charleston, WV headquarters: (304) 760-2400

To allow Arch Coal to destroy Blair Mountain would be to tear out a crucial page of American labor history and burn it. But even more important than the history are the lives of the people living at the foot of this mountain today.


For the mountains and for healthy communities,

Amanda Starbuck
Energy & Finance Program Director
Twitter: @DirtyEnergy

Blair Mountain …


Rainforest Action Network
Stop the world’s biggest banks from funding coal!
Eco Rock
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Blair Mountain used to be an idyllic place in southwestern West Virginia where the hills rolled for miles. Blair is also a historical treasure—the mountain is the site of arguably the most important post-Civil War battlefield in the US. Now, Arch Coal is planning to decimate this historical treasure for the tiny seams of coal that lie beneath the mountain. This is mountaintop removal coal mining at its worst.

These devastating coal mining practices could not happen without nine big banks (Bank of Montreal, BBVA, Citigroup, Credit Suisse, Morgan Stanley, PNC Financial, Royal Bank of Scotland, Union Bank, and Bank of America as a lead lender) pumping $250 million dollars into keeping Arch coal afloat last November.

Protect Blair Mountain and tell these 9 big bank CEOs to STOP funding Arch Coal.

Blair used to be a thriving community of 700 people—and now has merely 50 residents because of the extreme dangers posed by existing mountaintop removal mines near the town. And the people who stayed behind live with constant dynamite blasts behind their town, carcinogenic dust rolling off the mine sites, and heavy metal contamination.

Tell these 9 big bank CEOs to stop pumping money into the outdated practice of mountaintop removal coal mining, which poisons our water and pollutes our air.

Enough is enough. When bank financing enables Arch Coal to displace an entire community and wreack havoc on mother nature we cannot remain silent.

If we want to protect the future of these communities and our climate we need to cut funding for coal.

Sacrificing Blair Mountain and its residents for small seams of coal is deplorable—urge these 9 big bank CEOs to stop funding Arch Coal today.

An Apple a Day

Earth911 Logo  An Apple A Day Will Kill You

June 6, 2014 

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An Apple a Day Will Kill You


For reading purposes, I’m assuming you have an apple in your hand. If you don’t, please get one. I’ll wait. 

I’m not the kind of guy who questions where my food comes from. If I did, I would have a hard time justifying my love of veal. Oh, I’d still eat it, but the justifications would require more direct personal attacks on my accusers than I’m comfortable unleashing.

When I see apples in the supermarket, I usually have three thoughts: 1) “Hey, apples. I should eat those outside of pie sometime.” 2) “Apple pie goes great with ice cream.” 3) “Mmmm … Ice cream.” I always assumed the apples in the grocery are fresh from the tree, hence their bright, shiny skin.

It does not occur to me that the apples were picked many months ago, have been sitting in cold storage and that their appearance comes from diphenylamine (DPA) a chemical sprayed on apples in storage to prevent brown and black splotches on the skin. The apple industry refers to this process as “storage scald,” but I’m pretty sure it’s plain old “rotting.”



Updating the Grid

Regulation is Well Overdue

Aviation pollution is the largest contributor to air pollution, which is horrendous and growing an estimated 3 to 4 percent annually. Airlines are incredibly aware there are several ways by which they could reduce their carbon footprint. They’re also quite aware of increasing fuel costs that threaten fare stability. When it comes to affecting changes in the industry, knowing truly is only half the battle.

The rest of it lies within forcing regulation to manage pollution – and therein lies the real challenge.


It is their nature

It’s Their Nature

A scorpion asks a frog for a lift across the river. The frog says, “You’re a scorpion. When we get half way across, you’ll sting me and I’ll die.” The scorpion says, “If I sting you halfway across, we’ll both die.” The frog agrees to carry the scorpion across the river. Halfway across, the scorpion stings the frog. As they both start to drown, the frog asks, “Why would you sting me?” The scorpion says, “Look, I’m a scorpion. This is my nature.”

The moral of the story: We are what we are. I was reminded of this fable when Exxon released a report to shareholders about the potential financial effects of climate change regulations.