Green Money Overdraft: Philadelphians withdraw from mountaintop removal supporter PNC

EQAT members prepare to withdraw PNC accounts at their June 1 protest. | photo by Amanda StillwellHow green is your money? Well, if you bank with PNC then unfortunately, not very.

It’s no secret that local banking giant supports mountaintop removal. In fact, they’re the second largest bank to be financing the practice, providing more than $500 million in loans. But the local organization Earth Quaker Action Team (EQAT) is looking to change that.

In our May issue we wrote about EQAT’s “Green Your Money” initiative—a campaign to encourage Philadelphians to pull their accounts from PNC. As part of this initiative, EQAT proposed a 90-day period for PNC to reconsider their actions. Now, with that period over and still no comment from PNC, EQAT is taking their action to the next level.    

Last Friday, June 1, a group gathered in front of PNC’s regional headquarters in downtown Philadelphia where a number of individuals and organizations withdrew their accounts. So far, EQAT has tracked $3 million pledged to withdrawal as a part of “Green Your Money.” This sum includes organization like the Delaware chapter of the Sierra Club, which has already announced that they will close their account with PNC. They plan to encourage their affiliates to do the same, and these private accounts will only increase the total amount withdrawn.

The demonstration last week followed a recent 300-mile “Green Walk for Jobs and Justice” from the PNC Philadelphia regional headquarters to the national headquarters in Pittsburgh. This 16-day journey was used to build the movement and gather withdrawal pledges.

Join the Green Your Money initiative now and take the pledge to stop banking with PNC. For more information on EQAT, their work and mountaintop removal, visit their website at equat.wordpress.com

 

Moving Mountains: Activists take aim at PNC Bank

Mountaintop removal isn’t happening in Philadelphia, but the controversial mining practice is a major local issue. Philadelphia’s Earth Quaker Action Team (EQAT) has launched a campaign against PNC Bank for their financing of companies that use mountaintop removal mining practices. This February, EQAT introduced a “Green Your Money” initiative to encourage Philadelphians to pull their accounts from PNC. During the 90-day-or-so campaign, eight EQAT members will also be making a 16-day, 300-mile walk from Philadelphia to PNC’s national headquarters in Pittsburgh. They hope the walk will build statewide commitment for “Green Your Money” and put pressure on PNC to change their practices. To join the walk (which starts April 30) or to learn more about EQAT’s work, visit eqat.wordpress.com.

-story by Liz Pacheco

Save the Mountains: Penn, Temple students meet with PNC over mountaintop removal

An example of mountaintop removal. Image via blog.sungevity.com/Mountaintop removal might not seem like an issue pertinent to Philly residents, but students at Temple University and University of Pennsylvania would disagree. Local banking favorite PNC is a major financier for companies engaged in the practice. And at Temple and Penn, the relationship with PNC is close. Both universities have exclusive contracts with the bank. Additionally, Penn receives financial contributions from the company and at Temple, J. William Mills III, regional president for PNC, sits on the board. 

This fall, with support from the Earth Quaker Action Team, who started their own campaign against PNC, Penn and Temple engaged their communities in discussion and activism on the issue. Their work appeared to culminate this past Monday, when the Penn Community Against Mountaintop Removal and their counterpart at Temple individually met with PNC executives in hopes of convincing them to abandon their destructive investment. The meetings, although organized by their respective universities, did little to move the groups’ objectives forward. However, they were a go-ahead for taking their campaign to the next level.

“We intend to form a coalition with the 35 other alliance schools [who also have contracts with PNC],” said Danny Teich, a Temple student who spoke for his group at the press conference on Monday. “We currently have a statement of solidarity signed by six schools in the area and are currently organizing student life closure of PNC accounts on campus.” 

Look for more information about the campaign in an upcoming Grid issue. In meantime, find out more about the students’ work at mtratpenn.org and check out a video of Temple students being arrested this fall during a PNC sit-in.