Mountaintop Removal Group Protests Against UBS

May 13, 2013

LEXINGTON, KY- Members of Hands Off Appalachia gathered in Woodland Park this afternoon to protest against financial services company UBS. 

The group says UBS provides significant funding and financial advice to several local mining companies, including Alpha Natural Resources, Arch, Patriot, and James River Coal.  Hands Off wants the company to sever all ties with mining companies and change its official investment policy.  Protestor Greg Capillo says that funding should instead be invested in local educational, healthcare, and economic development opportunities. 

“You owe these people a future.  You’ve robbed them of that.  You’ve left them with a generational burden of cancer and chronic disease.  You owe them a bright economic future so invest that capital and give them that.”

The group of 30 marched from Woodland Park to UBS's Lexington branch.  Once there, they delivered a letter to company officials, and several people, including former Virginian coal miner Nick Mullins, spoke about the effects of mountaintop removal.  

"Banks in foreign countries are making profit from Appalachia at the cost of our health and the health of future generations.  The people of Switzerland wouldn't stand for US banks funding the destruction of the Alps, so why should we allow them to fund the destruction of our mountains?" Mullins said in a presentation.  

Hands Off Appalachia was founded in Knoxville, Tennessee about one year ago, and this is the group's first protest in Kentucky.  They hope that this event is the first of a sustained campaign.