Hands Off Appalachia! is an active US-based campaign demanding UBS change their official policy and stop funding and supporting companies that engage in mountaintop removal coal mining. JOIN US! http:handsoffappalachia.wordpress.com
What's mountaintop removal [MTR]?
Mountaintop removal (MTR) is a radical form of coal mining that blasts away mountains and devastates the environment and communities of Appalachia. MTR is being practiced primarily in West Virginia, Kentucky, Virginia and Tennessee and according to a 2009 study conducted by Appalachia Voices and the NRDC "roughly 1.2 million acres, including 500 mountains, have been flattened by mountaintop removal coal mining in the central Appalachian region." According to the Environmental Protection Agency, mountaintop removal destroyed more than 1,200 miles of Appalachian streams and 7 percent of its forests between 1985 and 2001. However, MTR is much more than an environmental or aesthetic issue. It's true that MTR creates polluted waters and toxic air but this destructive practice also perpetuates economic poverty, poor health, rampant cancer, loss of cultural heritage, and political disenfranchisement.
What is UBS?
UBS AG is a Swiss-owned wealth management company heavily involved in the global financial sector. Based out of Zurich Switzerland, they handle billions of dollars in investments and asset management all across the world. UBS provides a broad rage of services to wealthy individuals, corporations, institutions and even governments. There are UBS branch locations all over the United States, with their national branch located in Stanford, CT.
How is UBS involved with MTR?
UBS funds and supports many of the largest companies engaged in mountaintop removal coal mining in Southern Appalachia, including: Patriot Coal Corporation, Alpha Natural Resources, Arch Coal Inc and James River Coal Company.
UBS Public Statements on MTR:
In 2010, UBS stated "[We] need to be satisfied that the client is committed to reduce over time its exposure to [MTR],"
that same year, UBS acted as a paid adviser in the merger of Massey Energy and Alpha Natural Resources. This merger created the largest single MTR company in the country, now responsible for some 25 percent of coal production from MTR mines.
In their annual report, UBS stated, "In 2010, we decided to further strengthen our environmental and social risk management (including human rights) by identifying controversial activities where we will not do business,
or only do business under stringent pre-established guidelines. Therefore we will not knowingly provide financial services to corporate clients, nor will we purchase goods or services from suppliers, where the use of proceeds, primary business activity, or acquisition target involves the following environmental and social risks:
Extractive industries, heavy infrastructure, forestry and plantations operations that risk severe environmental damage. . ." [Page 62]
Despite this statement, the company continued to fund and support companies engaging in harmful extractive practices in Southern Appalachia, as detailed here:
Bond and Loan Deals -- MTR, Coal Plant and Coal Export Companies
Jan 1, 2010 through March 14, 2012
Research sourced from Bloomberg, by Annie Sartor
March 28, 2012
UBS has documented financial relationships with 4 of the top 9 MTR coal mining companies
Alpha Natural Resources
• 11/8/10 -- UBS Securities served as sole arranger and UBS Loan Finance LLC served as swingline lender for
AT Massey Coal Company's second amended and restated credit agreement
• 3/16/10 -- UBS Securities LLC underwrote $50 million for International Coal Group's $100 bond offering
• 8/9/10 -- UBS Securities LLC underwrote $7.5 million for Arch Coal's $500 million bond offering
James River Coal Company
• 1/28/10, 8/16/10, 10/29/10, 3/6/11, 4/15/11, 6/30/11 -- UBS Loan Finance LLC and UBS AG, Stamford
Branch served as lenders for 6 amendments and restatements to James River Coal Company's revolving credit
agreement worth $100 million (loan)
• 3/29/11 -- UBS Securities LLC served as joint lead manager -- books for James River Coal Co's $230 million
• 10/13/11 -- UBS Securities LLC served as lead manager for James River Coal Co's offer to exchange $270
million in notes
• 1/6/11 and 1/31/12 -- UBS Loan Finance LLC served as a lender on amendment number 1 and the
Second Amendment to Patriot Coal's amended and restated credit agreement
Who are we?
We are an independent group of Southern Appalachian residents & activists opposing the practice of
mountaintop removal coal mining, organized as The Knoxville Activist Collective.
Together, we will apply enough public pressure to ensure that UBS changes its official policy and stops funding
and supporting companies that engage in mountaintop removal.