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Follow the money from key banks: Less financing for coal companies “mining mountains”

Environmentalists have opened a new front in their battle with fossil fuel companies.

In a “significant shift” related to pressure from environmental activist groups, PNC Financial, the nation’s seventh-largest bank, will no longer finance coal mining companies that engage in mountain-top removal of coal.

PNC joins at least a half-dozen Wall Street banks in this strategy; so “mountaintop removal companies” are expected to have a harder time financing operations and expansion.

In yet another example of the growing importance of corporate reputation and risk management, PNC cites “environmental and health concerns, as well as our risk appetite.” (Too, its mountaintop removal financing had declined significantly in recent years.)

With their attempts to cut off financing for mountain mining, environmental activists have opened a “second front” in their confrontation with fossil fuel companies.Their campaign to convince large investors, especially institutional investors such as universities, to divest their holdings in these companies remains in place even as the new financing strategy begins to get traction.