Tuesday, December 01, 2015

Wells Fargo & Co. and Morgan Stanley to decrease coal investments

Wells Fargo & Co. and Morgan Stanley "are the latest banks to announce limits to coal mine and power plant financing," Manuel Quiñones reports for Environment & Energy Publishing. In March PNC Bank announced it was cutting financing to coal firms using mountaintop removal.

Wells Fargo "said its exposure to mountaintop-removal coal mining was small and declining and promised to keep moving away from boosting the practice," Quiñones writes. In a document the company stated: "Due to these significant industry changes, Wells Fargo has and will continue to limit and reduce our credit exposure to the coal mining industry . . . Wells Fargo will not extend credit or facilitate capital markets transactions to individual MTR mining projects or to a coal producer that receives a majority of its production from MTR mining."

Morgan Stanley "said it would continue to reduce its exposure to coal mining worldwide," Quiñones writes. "When it comes to mountaintop-removal mining, the bank said it would not fund companies that rely heavily on the practice." The bank also said "it would stay away from financing coal plants in the developed world without significant carbon controls. The bank said it would scrutinize coal plant financing in poorer countries."

Luke Popovich, spokesman for the National Mining Association, "said the announcements were largely 'for cosmetic effects' timed to coincide with the Paris climate talks," Quiñones writes. Popovich told him, "It's a sign of the low regard in which big banks are held in this country and how they are reviled among leading presidential candidates in both parties." (Read more)

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