From our friends at Hands Off Appalachia:
Residents Oppose Mountaintop Removal Financier
UBS Wealth Management targeted by nonviolent protest.
Knoxville, Tennessee May 24th, 2013
This morning, activists associated with Mountain Justice, Radical Action for Mountain Peoples’ Survival (RAMPS), and Hands Off Appalachia! entered the Gay Street branch of UBS wealth management services and refused to leave. Inside the office, three activists locked themselves to a large paper mache puppet depicting an investment banker. The non-violent protest was in opposition to UBS’ funding and supporting of the harmful extractive process known as mountaintop removal coal mining.
“Mountaintop removal coal mining requires intensive injections of capital investment. That capital comes at the cost of the people of Appalachia. I’ve engaged in this non-violent act of protest against UBS’ funding of mountaintop removal to exhibit our dedication to ending their funding and support of an industry that is devastating Appalachia and killing it’s residents.” — Ricki Draper, Hands Off Appalachia! And Knoxville Resident.
UBS provides funding and investment services to Patriot, Arch and James River Coal Companies. Those three companies, operate active strip mines in Kentucky, Virginia and West Virginia.
“I’m sick and tired of seeing my home get blown up for corporate greed – and UBS is bankrolling the blasting of my community. UBS, listen up: My family’s not a profit margin, our mountains aren’t collateral damage, and we want you out of here: Get your hands off of Appalachia,” said West Virginia resident Junior Walk.
Junior Walk was part of protest today targeting Alpha Natural Resources. Walk and several others [confronted] Alpha at their headquarters in Bristol, VA. UBS acted as the financial advisor for Alpha Natural Resources’ acquisition of Massey Energy in 2010, which created the largest mountaintop removal company in the world.
Mountaintop removal coal mining (MTR) is a form of strip mining that was developed in the 1970’s as a method for extracting coal cheaply. Companies use explosives to remove the top layers of soil and rock from a mountain ridge, exposing the seams of coal for easy access. The valley-fills that accompany mountaintop removal are poisoning water supplies, causing cancer and birth defects, devastating local economies, and displacing large segments of Central Appalachian residents.
Hands Off Appalachia! (HOA!) is a Knoxville-based campaign demanding UBS change their official policy and stop funding and supporting companies that engage in mountaintop removal coal mining.
Mountain Justice seeks an abolition of MTR and the protection of the cultural and natural heritage of the Appalachian coal fields. This work is done through grassroots organizing, public education, nonviolent civil disobedience and other forms of citizen action.
Radical Action for Mountain Peoples’ Survival (RAMPS) is a non-violent direct action campaign based in the southern coal fields of West Virginia. RAMPS is dedicated to ending all forms of strip mining in America