Photo Credit: Rainforest Action Network
Eight people arrested protesting Bank of America’s reckless financing practices, including the banks role as the lead financier of coal. Two people were arrested after unfurling a banner reading “Not with Our Money” from atop two 50-foot flagpoles at the entrance of Bank of America’s headquarters in downtown Charlotte. Six more were arrested below: two while supporting the climbers, and four while blocking the main entrance to the bank’s headquarters.
“As the authorities attempt to evict Occupy protestors from public spaces, they are going to start showing up at Bank of America doorsteps across the country. Bank of America is in the center of the Occupy Movement because of its reckless financial practices that put profit before people and planet,” said Amanda Starbuck, Rainforest Action Network’s Energy and Finance Campaign Director. “If Bank of America would like to regain the trust of the 99 percent, it must adopt sound economic and environmental policies that reflect the values of its customers. Bank of America can start by getting out of bed with the coal industry, and shifting its funding toward renewable energy sources that will have long term benefits for our environment, our health and our economy.”
“Bank of America is foreclosing on our neighbors and it’s foreclosing on our climate. To be honest, I’m embarrassed that I’m still a customer,” said Jamie Trowbridge, an Appalachian State University student who was one of the two climbers arrested at today’s protest. “Coal is dirty at every stage in its lifecycle. No longer will Bank of America fund coal with my money. When I get back to school, I’m going to cut up my BoA debit card, and help other students do the same.”
In the past two years alone, Rainforest Action Network has found that Bank of America has pumped $4.3 billion into the U.S. coal industry; $1.3 billion more than other top banks. With today’s protest, environmentalists have joined the mounting outrage at Bank of America’s reckless financing practices, a critique which has been on display with the Occupy Movement and with the record transfer of customer accounts to credit unions. According to the Credit Union National Association, 700,000 consumers across the nation have joined credit unions since Sept. 29 and credit unions have added $4.5 billion in new savings accounts.
Bank of America funds every sector of the U.S. coal industry, including companies that operate the most controversial coal-fired power plants and the most devastating forms of strip mining, including mountaintop removal coal mining. Today’s action comes only a month after RAN announced its Not One More Dollar for Campaign, which asks Bank of America customers to close their accounts until Bank of America stops subsidizing the coal industry.
The international environmental group has garnered the support of thousands of Bank of America customers, who in the last few weeks have pledged to close their accounts, citing the bank’s insistence on underwriting the coal industry. Coal is responsible for 40 percent of greenhouse gas emissions and the U.S. is the world’s second largest coal producer. Coal-fired energy generation is responsible for pollutants that damage cardiovascular and respiratory health and threaten healthy child development.
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