Residents of Lexington delivered the following letter to UBS officials on May 13th, 2013
We are here to demand that UBS stop funding and supporting mountaintop removal coal mining (MTR). We are here because we are concerned for the health and safety of Appalachia.
UBS is a top funder of MTR, lending capital and providing investment services to companies such as Arch Coal, Patriot Coal, and James River Coal Company. Mountaintop removal is a method of extracting coal using explosives and heavy machinery to remove hundreds of vertical feet from ridgelines before dumping this material into adjacent valleys. The process has buried over 2,000 miles of headwater streams, a vital source of drinking water, and razed more than 500 mountains in Tennessee, Virginia, West Virginia and Kentucky. Among many adverse impacts to human communities, MTR has been linked to increased rates of birth defects.
Across the Appalachian coalfields, people living near MTR mines are threatened by groundwater contamination, mudslides, flash-floods, and fly-rock which is launched through the air and into communities. Without the financial support of UBS, coal companies could not continue poisoning our communities.
The Hands off Appalachia Campaign is an urban-based campaign with dedicated volunteers across the region. Today, we join our allies in Lexington to launch a Kentucky base of Hands off Appalachia.
We will continue applying public pressure until UBS changes its official policy on mountaintop removal and stop funding MTR. As representatives of UBS in the Appalachian region, you have the responsibility to deliver this message to the individuals who enact policies that directly impact Appalachian communities.
We demand that you repair the damage you have done to these communities by investing in these communities’ future. Take advantage of the opportunity to invest in energy efficiency in these mountain communities. Invest in education and infrastructure in communities that are traditionally under-served. Also, create a pool for micro-loans for young entrepreneurs trying to do business in an environment bereft of economic opportunity.
Hands off Appalachia!
Contact Hands Off Appalachia! Lexington
HandsOffAppalachiaLEX [at] gmail.com
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