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Banner Drop in Chicago Calls Attention to Chase's Funding of Dirty Energy

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A group of activists affiliated with the R ainforest Action Network (RAN) attached a banner to the headquarters of JPMorgan Chase in downtown Chicago. Activists with RAN's local chapter sought to bring attention to Chase's funding of environmental destruction--mountaintop removal, which they have become the largest financier of.

The banner drop took place around 1:00 pm. Within minutes, the banner was in place, pictures were taken, and activists had left the premise without being arrested.

Actions of this nature have begun to receive increased amounts of attention. A Climate Action march and rally this past October and a demonstration against the Chicago Climate Exchange in November also put a focus on supporting truly clean energy.

Filmmaker Parson Brown, from the Topless America Project, was on the scene to shoot video of activists hanging the banner.

Brown noted, "Mountaintop removal is the worst social and environmental atrocity our country has ever seen"Over 520 mountains have been destroyed and more than 1,500 miles of headwater streams have been poisoned."

RAN's action today was just another action to add to the network's campaign to raise the public's awareness of Chase's dirty dealings and to pressure Chase into "funding the future" instead of dirty energy. It was just another instance where the network hoped Americans who saw the banner would think about a world without dirty energy and, instead, a world with clean, renewable energy and more green jobs.

As activists push for Chase to totally divest from mountaintop removal through actions that past divestment movements have used, it's worth noting how this bailed out bank is probably thanking plunderers and peddlers of dirty energy that engage in mountaintop removal for giving them a way to rebound. How nice it must have been to have environmental destruction to fall back on as a means of ensuring executives will continue to take home large bonuses and the company will continue to have more finest years ever?

How grateful must have been when Bank of America stopped financing mountaintop removal giving them the opportunity to use environmental destruction to increase profits?

Singer, actress, and social activists xxXGloria RubenXxx wrote about Chase and mountaintop removal on January 8th of this year:

JPMorgan Chase has been funding six of the top eight coal mining companies responsible for mountaintop removal coal mining in the United States. Recently, its investment bank underwrote more than $1 billion in new financing to Massey Energy, the largest mountaintop removal coal mining company.

JPMorgan Chase states that its "environmental goal is to make a positive contribution to sustainable business practices by integrating environmental practices into our business model." Yet, Massey Energy has a deplorable environmental record, having violated the Clean Water Act no fewer than 4,500 times - resulting in a $30 million fine in 2008.

Last October, activists responded to calls for action from RAN, the New York Action Network, the Waterkeeper Alliance, and the Sierra Club and organized a "Carnival of Destruction" outside of Chase's mid-town Manhattan headquarters.

Chase can expect future creative nonviolent actions from environmentally conscious citizens. The pressure will continue until Chase stops making claims and actually begins to make a "positive contribution" to the environment by integrating non-destructive environmental policies into its operations.

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Kevin Gosztola is managing editor of Shadowproof Press. He also produces and co-hosts the weekly podcast, "Unauthorized Disclosure." He was an editor for
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