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Quakers Protest PNC Bank For Financing Mountaintop Coal Mining

About 50 Quaker protesters showed at two PNC bank branches in Springfield Saturday.
Wayne Baker

Several local Quaker activists participated in a “Flood PNC” protest in Springfield Saturday morning. The Earth Quaker Action Team organized demonstrations in 12 states and the District of Columbia to ask PNC Bank to stop financing mountaintop removal coal mining in Appalachian areas.

The U.S. EPA says the process involves mining companies blowing the tops off of mountains in order to extract an abundance of coal. After the coal is extracted, toxic waste is often dumped into the environment, harming water supplies and wildlife.

About 50 Quaker activists protested in the lobby and outside of the PNC locations on S. Limestone and N. Limestone in Springfield.  

PNC Bank called police after protesters went inside, singing. quakers
Credit Wayne Baker / WYSO
PNC Bank called police after protesters went inside, singing.

"We're out here at PNC Bank because they're one of the top financers of mountaintop removal coal mining and they claim to be a "Green Bank," said participant M.J. Gentile. "A lot of Quakers have money in PNC, but they're pulling it out because we don't want to be financing mountaintop removal."

"PNC bank's history is as a Quaker bank," said CarolSimmons. "And we would like them to live up to their Quaker heritage. They also claim to be a 'green bank' and we would like them to live up that as well."

The Earth Quaker Action Team says demand for central Appalachian coal has nearly tripled in recent years.

PNC bank managers called police after the protesters arrived Saturday morning; when they arrived the protesters dispersed without incident and no citations were issued. PNC manager did not reply to a request for comment over the weekend.