Frequently Asked Questions

What People Often Ask Us

About the Green Your Money Initiative

About the Earth Quaker Action Team

 

About the Green Your Money Initiative

What is the plan? Do I close my account tomorrow?

No. Wait. First it takes most people a bit of time to get ready to close their bank account. See our file “Tips on Closing Your Bank Account."

But most important, to maximize the impact of our efforts we are doing this together, in a coordinated way. We are giving PNC Bank until the 31st of May, 2012, to commit to ending all financial ties to mountaintop removal coal mining. Prior to that date, you can sign the pledge, and give us your contact information. If the June 1, 2012 deadline passes, close your account with PNC Bank - and work with us to find a group of people in your area who can close their PNC accounts together.

So start getting ready to move your account by identifying a new bank and opening a new account. Recruit others in your community to join with you and get started themselves. When you are ready, let us know. We can help you organize a small group to get the most out of your plan to Green Your Money!

How do I find a new bank?

Everyone has their own particular preferences and needs when it comes to banking and financial services. For some convenient location is very important. For others it might be user-friendly online banking, or particularly strong socially responsible values. Some are very focused on low-cost or no-cost banking. So no one bank or credit union will be the right choice for everyone.

First think about what is important to you. Talk to your friends and colleagues about their bank, how and why they like it. Here is an extensive list of local banks and credit unions in the Philadelphia area, courtesy of Transition Philadelphia.

Many people who are concerned about social and environmental issues prefer to use local banks or credit unions. Coop America particularly encourages using community development credit unions because they carry a particular commitment to making local loans to low income people and small businesses, but they are more rare and might not be local to your community.

Some people choose to seek the professional help of a socially responsible financial advisor who has access to professional resources and can tell you much more about a banks actual practices.

Whatever you do, we recommend that you not move your money to any of the following big banks who are also heavily invested in coal companies that practice mountaintop removal coal mining:

           Bank of America (the other of the two largest investors in mountaintop removal)
           Citibank
           GE Capital Corp
           JPMorgan Chase
           Morgan Stanley
           UBS

EQAT is developing a video gallery of individual stories of looking for and finding the right bank for them. You may find their advice from personal experience helpful, so check them out and keep coming back. We will continue to add more.

What do I need to do to close my account?

Read our tips on closing your PNC account. Follow the instructions. Ask questions when you are confused and get professional advice if you cannot get good, clear answers that you feel you can trust. Then be proud and pat yourself on the back.

Don’t all banks finance something bad?

There is no perfect screen for socially responsible investing. It is clear that some do better than others. But coal is the single greatest contributor to carbon levels and climate change, and mountaintop removal is the most environmentally destructive form of coal mining. So we strongly encourage you to join with us, and close your PNC account as part of EQAT’s Green Your Money initiative. Then you can look for the next step you want to take to create a better world.

So why do you only focus on PNC Bank?

EQAT feels strongly that our actions will be most effective if we focus our resources on a single, clear, achievable objective. When we achieve that goal, we can move on to the next specific goal. EQAT has chosen PNC because of its historical connection to the Religious Society of Friends (Quakers), because PNC describes itself as an ethical corporate citizen committed to support the environment, and because we think this campaign is eminently winnable.

Our sucess so far is due to our commitment to concentrating our resources on this one bank, rather than risking failure by stretching ourselves too thinly.

Didn’t I hear that PNC Bank already stopped all investments in mountaintop removal?

PNC did issue a new policy concerning mountaintop removal in late 2010 (but formally published in their Corporate Responsibility Report in June 2011). The key paragraph reads:

“MTR is the subject of increasing regulatory and legislative scrutiny, with a focus on the permitting of MTR mines. While this extraction method is permitted, PNC will not provide funding to individual MTR projects, nor will PNC provide credit to coal producers whose primary extraction method is MTR. PNC will continue to monitor this industry while various regulatory issues are addressed through legislation and public policy.”

But according to research by the Rainforest Action Network since the PNC report was issued, actual financing of companies that finance mountaintop removal have not visibly changed.

Doesn’t mountaintop removal happen in Appalachia? How do we have anything to do with it?

Yes, mountaintop removal happens primarily in West Virginia, Kentucky, Tennessee, and the far southwest tip of Virginia. We are connected to it because we are all part of the web of life and what happens in Appalachia affects us all.

More concretely, every account in PNC provides them with money that they can then invest in companies that practice mountaintop removal. Your money deposited with PNC helps to finance mountaintop removal.

The coal that is produced by mountaintop removal mining ends up in our own backyard to provide the electricity.  Making electricity out of coal contributes to climate change and many respiratory illnesses, including very high levels of childhood asthma in our local community.

How else can I get involved?

Spread the word far and wide – to family and friends, colleagues and acquaintances, and sympathetic faith communities and organizations in your area. There are lots of people who do not yet know that PNC is invested in mountaintop removal.

Talk to folks about us. Distribute our materials. Share links to GreenPNC.org. Print out copies of our poster and find a bulletin board where you can post it.

Follow us online. Like us on Facebook and repost our updates. Write about us on your blog. Re-tweet our tweets.

Get on our mailing list. Hear about our up-coming activities, actions, and trainings and come on out to join with us.

If you are not in our area, get in touch at GreenPNC@gmail.com or eqateam@gmail.com and we can help you figure out how to organize a simple action in your home town.

Please contribute financially. We are a small organization with lots of ideas about what we would like to do next, and we need money to make that a reality.

What other banks finance mountaintop removal?

Many others do, but according to the research done by the Rainforest Action Network, the other banks with large investments in mountaintop removal are:
           Bank of America (the other of the two largest investors in mountaintop removal)
           Citibank
           GE Capital Corp
           JPMorgan Chase
           Morgan Stanley
           UBS

Don’t we need coal to fuel our economy?

Coal still provides almost 50% of the power which generates electricity in the United State. On the other hand, we have known for decades that we need to end our addiction to cheap, dirty energy.

Mountaintop removal coal mining supplies a very small percentage of the total coal mined in this country, yet it produces a far greater percentage of the environmental damage.

We could end mountaintop removal coal mining today and still work on the necessary transition from coal and other dirty fossil fuels to a clean, sustainable energy future.

Why doesn’t EQAT work on hydraulic fracturing (fracking) for natural gas?

In April 2012, EQAT's Board of Directors approved a specific policy on Fracking:

"Earth Quaker Action Team (EQAT) is unequivocally opposed to the process of natural gas hydraulic fracturing, or "fracking", and we support all of our allies organizing against this unsafe, extractive industry in Pennsylvania and beyond. As a new grassroots organization working on our first campaign, “Bank Like Appalachia Matters”, and as Quakers with a historic connection to both Appalachia and to PNC Bank, our focus remains on the issue of mountaintop removal coal mining and its financing.

In the course of our work, it has become clear that PNC is deeply invested in Pennsylvania hydraulic fracking through their investments in Blackrock management corporation. (PNC remains the largest shareholder of Blackrock, which in turn is the largest shareholder in 11 different gas companies. Blackrock has roughly 35 billion dollars of investment in companies engaging in Marcellus Shale drilling1).  Our hope is that EQAT’s work to “green PNC” will strengthen other campaigns calling for economic and environmental justice.  We are proud to be part of a growing movement fighting for a sustainable future for us all."

We hope that current PNC account holders who are active in the fight against fracking, will agree to join Green Your Money and pledge to close their PNC accounts, whether their primarily concern is fracking or mountaintop removal.

Is PNC also involved in financing the oil and gas industry and hydraulic fracturing in Pennsylvania?

Yes, but exactly how much, we do not know. So far, no one has done the detailed research.

Is EQAT organizing to oppose fracking as well as mountaintop removal coal mining?

No. While individuals associated with EQAT have participated in actions against fracking, the Keystone XL pipeline, and other climate change issues, we use our resources to fight mountaintop removal and PNC Bank.

About Earth Quaker Action Team

What is EQAT?

Earth Quaker Action Team is an organization of Quaker Friends, and friends of Friends, who join millions of people around the world fighting for our threatened planet. Our first campaign is BLAM!, Bank Like Appalachia Matters. BLAM! is dedicated to taking the profit out of financing climate change and uses non-violent direct action as a strategy to influence PNC to end all financing of mountaintop removal coal mining.

Why Nonviolent Direction Action?

Frankly, because it works. It is necessary. And it is fun. Come join with us and try it!