Environment & Energy
1:59 pm
Mon October 21, 2013

Earth Quaker Action Team Back in Pittsburgh to Protest PNC

The Earth Quaker Action Team (EQAT) returned to PNC branches Monday to again protest the bank’s investments in mountaintop removal mining.

Last April EQAT protested at a PNC shareholder meeting in Pittsburgh to the point that the company’s chairman and CEO had to shut down the gathering.

Mountaintop mining involves removing mountaintops to expose coal, excavating the upper and lower layers of coal with remains placed in piles, and then re-grading and re-vegetating the site.

EQAT member Zein Nakhoda said they began Monday’s events by holding silent vigils outside of PNC branches.

He said they also tried to disrupt business during lunchtime at PNC branches downtown.

“We found an exciting legal way that we can come and slow down the operations at PNC bank to slow down the financing of mountaintop removal,” Nakhoda said. “So there will be actually people coming to the branches and depositing pennies into an account as a slow down.”

Zein said the group’s actions at the last PNC shareholder meeting has garnered them a lot of supporters who joined them Monday.

He said the day’s final event will be at PNC’s 600 Grant St. bank.

“So we’re going to come and bring our signs and kind of hold a teach-in and teach both customers and people who work at the bank and try to get our message to PNC that way,” Nakhoda said. “And really we’re willing to stay there until the truth is heard.”

According to PNC’s 2012 Corporate Responsibility Report, the bank “does not extend credit to individual MTR (mountaintop removal) mining projects or to a coal producer that receives a majority of its production from MTR mining.”

EQAT challenges that policy as “bogus” saying that no coal producer receives a majority of it’s production from mountaintop mining, PNC hasn’t initiated impact studies on the policy, and that it still has “exposure” to more than 43 percent of mountaintop mining in Appalachia.