Loyola University Chicago applauds JP Morgan Chase
First Public Statement on Controversial Mountaintop Removal Coal Mining
Chicago (May 17, 2010) – As members of Loyola University Chicago’s Shareholder Advocacy Committee gathered with other anti-mountaintop removal coal mining activists and universities and colleges to attend JP Morgan Chase's Annual General Shareholder meeting in New York City, they learned that JPMorgan Chase released their 2009 Corporate Responsibility Report including their first public statement on financing for companies that practice mountaintop removal (MTR) coal mining. As laid out in their CR report, JPMorgan "has undertaken an enhanced review of all proposed banking transactions for companies engaged in MTR….includ[ing] considerations of a company’s regulatory compliance history, as well as exposure to future regulatory changes and litigation risks, particularly as they relate to valley fills and water quality issues."
In response to JPMorgan Chase's enhanced review of companies that finance MTR, Raymond Catania, Chair of the Shareholder Advocacy Committee, stated, "The Shareholder Advocacy Committee at Loyola University Chicago applauds JP Morgan Chase's move to address its financing of mountaintop removal coal mining, the devastating practice of levelling the Appalachian mountains and adversely impacting the region’s fragile ecosystem and communities. We view this as a step toward better corporate citizenry and to better safeguarding of shareholder value.
We hope that JPMorgan Chase will take a leadership position among financial institutions, and take further necessary steps toward the complete phase-out of financing for all companies that engage in mountaintop removal coal mining. We look forward to continuing our dialogue with our company, and hope it will develop an enforceable and transparent public policy to reflect this position."
JPMorgan Chase's new guidance on Mountaintop Removal comes just days after a report issued by Rainforest Action Network, the Sierra Club and BankTrack found that JPMorgan Chase, PNC and UBS were the lead financiers of companies practicing MTR.
"As equally important, we are gratified to learn that JPMorgan Chase no longer finances Massey Energy." Massey Energy is the leading MTR company in the nation. Loyola’s Shareholder Advocacy Committee, in support of Change to Win Investment Group’s campaign, announced to Massey Energy in a letter dated May 10, 2010, that the university will "Withhold" votes for Massey Energy board members Richard Gabrys, Dan Moore and Baxter Phillips Jr. who are up for reelection at the Massey’s annual meeting on May 18. All three were members of the Massey Safety, Environmental and Public Policy Committee (SEPPC), the board committee ultimately responsible failures in oversight that likely led to the tragic explosion at Upper Big Branch mine in West Virginia on April 5 that killed 29 miners. Seattle University, another Jesuit University, sent a similar letter to Massey Energy.
"We appreciate JPMorgan Chase’s willingness to listen to our Committee’s concerns - brought about by student reports of the devastating effects of this aggressive form of extractive mining, witnessed during immersion trips in Appalachia - and to speak with our Committee and partners, which include the Interfaith Center on Corporate Responsibility; the National Jesuit Committee on Investment Responsibility, Jesuit Conference; the Responsible Endowments Coalition - as well as activists and universities and collages across the country.
To view JPMorgan Chase’s CR report and MTR statements, please visit page 31 the the bank's Corporate Responsibility Report 2009.
Loyola University Chicago, a Jesuit institution, has had a longstanding policy on responsible investing dating back to the 1970s. In 2006, the Board of Trustees of Loyola University Chicago responded to students and other members of the LUC community who expressed concerns about the University’s holdings in companies and their role of capital in creating financial and society value, and established the Shareholder Advocacy Committee, to engage in shareholder advocacy initiatives and to further the University’s commitment "to an investment policy that balances effective support of its academic programs and broader educational and social mission with the promotion of social justice and the dignity of the individual." For more information about the Shareholder Advocacy Committee at Loyola University Chicago, please visit www.luc.edu/sac.