When they held a national gathering last summer at Cal U of Pa., dozens of Quakers took a sidetrip to Pittsburgh to protest at various PNC Bank locations. Members of the Earth Quaker Action Team have for years sought to get the bank to stop financing mountaintop-removal coal mining operations in the Appalachian coalfields.
Now it turns out they're getting at least some of their wish.
In its latest Corporate Responsibility Report, PNC revealed it has been reducing such financing since 2010, down to a quarter of a percent of its total lending portfolio, and plans to continue doing so. The report cites environmental and health concerns as well as financial risk.
“It’s good to see that PNC Bank is now taking meaningful steps,” says a statement from Matthew Armstead, staff coordinator for EQAT. “Since this shift happened because of external pressure, it should be a wake-up call for everyone that the power of change lies with regular citizen activists.”
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has estimated about 1,200 miles of streams in Appalachia have been directly affected by mountaintop removal and valley fills, and other reports have linked the practice to health problems among affected residents.