Banks are looking to distance themselves from activities that they think may damage their reputations and bottom lines. One such activity of mountaintop mining practices.
The banking giant Wells Fargo & Co., is the most recent example. Last month, they stated that "considerable attention and controversy" surrounding mountaintop removal mining had precipitated the decision. Wells Fargo & Co. also stated its involvement with companies engaged in mountaintop removal mining was "limited and declining."
Mountaintop removal mining involves the "clear-cut" of forests. Then rocks are blasted apart using explosives and the exposed coal is scooped out by machines. Activists are claiming mountaintop removal mining is harming their water quality and destroying land as the earth left behind is dumped into valleys and covering intermittent streams.
The coal industry challenged the surface mining policy from EPA last month in a lawsuit filed against the Obama administration, which tightened water quality standards for valley fills at surface coal mines in a number of states including West Virginia, Kentucky, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Virginia and Tennessee.
Activists say "it has done too little" when Obama administration has set out to curb the practice. Mountaintop removal mining has been described as "environmental terrorism" by Mickey McCoy, a former mayor in Kentucky.