The Stamford 14 had their fifth court appearance today. They were given another continuance for June 11.
Hands Off Appalachia continues the campaign to get UBS to divest from mountaintop removal as the Stamford 14 continue their legal battle.
Supporters joined the 14 at the courthouse for a public rally.
Earlier this morning, organizers with Hands Off Appalachia delivered a letter to UBS Americas. It read,
Dear UBS North Americas,
Thank you for meeting with Hands Off Appalachia in November. While we appreciate your willingness to hold a dialogue with us, we are deeply concerned with UBS’s inadequate policy on mountaintop removal, especially in light of recent developments in Central Appalachia. Mountaintop removal coal mining continues to destroy communities, create health crises, and cause permanent destruction.
Since we met in November, over 300,000 people in central and southern West Virginia found their tap water rendered unusable because of a 10,000-gallon spill of MCHM, a chemical manufactured for coal processing.While next to nothing about the long-term health impacts of this chemical is known, hundreds of people were hospitalized from illnesses caused by acute exposure. Not only is the mining industry responsible for the demand for crude MCHM, but it is the bulk of the reason that a spill above just one water intake affected people in nine different counties: coal mining has for decades contaminated local water sources and forced a widespread rural population onto a centralized utility. Since we met in November, since personally delivering hundreds of gallons of water to our WV neighbors, we see ourselves as scrambling to avert the next industrial disaster.
In February, a coal ash spill polluted the Dan River in North Carolina leaving thousands with massive water contamination. A week later, 108,000 gallons of coal slurry from a Patriot Coal Prep Plant spilled into the Kanawha tributary.
After James River Coal Company declared bankruptcy on April 7, UBS downgraded Arch Coal and Alpha Natural Resources from neutral to sell. Clearly, coal is a volatile investment. While UBS downgraded Alpha and Arch for economic reasons, it is imperative that UBS also recognize the impact of its investments on human health and the environment. People living near mountaintop removal sites are 50% more likely to die of cancer and 42% more likely to be born with birth defects compared to other people in Appalachia.
This month, JPMorgan Chase updated its environmental policy, revealing that it will be ending financial relationships with mountaintop removal coal mining companies. Wells Fargo and BNP Bank of the West recently made similar steps.
It is time for UBS to follow the lead taken by these banks and stop funding companies that practice mountaintop removal.
Hands Off Appalachia
Hands Off Appalachia will not rest until UBS stops funding mountaintop removal!