Today, Saturday, March 10, Mountain Justice activists and students from Virginia, North Carolina, Tennessee, Michigan, and Vermont demonstrated at the Bank of America in Abingdon, Virginia. The students and volunteers gathered to protest the bank’s investment in the coal industry, particularly mountaintop removal strip mining. The educational and theatrical demonstration was coordinated with others in Virginia, Tennessee, and North Carolina, in a national effort to protest mountaintop removal coal mining.
Bank of America is one of the leading financiers of mountaintop removal coal mining. The controversial mining practice pollutes air and watersheds, blasts away biodiversity and habitat, and is connected to the acceleration of global climate change.
This protest is the latest action from a growing resistance movement that aims to achieve a sustainable economy and green energy future for Appalachian communities, and ending the current reliance on the coal industry.
Participants in the demonstration highlighted the connections between Wall St. banks and Appalachian strip mining. Actions included a teach-in to raise public awareness about the ties between big banks and big coal. Demonstrators took a direct stance against Bank of America by closing their accounts, and encouraging others to do the same. John Buscarino of North Carolina said, “I closed my account because Bank of America has been using my money to fund the destruction of communities in Appalachia…. I don’t want to be part of supporting mountaintop removal coal mining.”
Mountain Justice also encouraged solidarity actions around Central and Southern Appalachia. In Harrisonburg, VA, Occupy protestors supported the action by also demonstrating in front of their local Bank of America branch downtown.
In Abingdon, the dirty history of Bank of America has been highlighted in the past by local Occupy protestors.
With actions like these, Bank of America is being frequently reminded and strongly encouraged to stop funding mountain top removal and stop supporting the wealthy 1% at the expense of the environment, health, and communities in Appalachia and across the country.