Environmentalists are putting pressure on Morgan Stanley to cut its financing ties to the coal industry as part of a larger disinvestment campaign aimed at big banks.
Organizers with the environmental group Rainforest Action Network (RAN) urged the investment firm to end its financing of coal mining and coal power during Friday protests held outside Morgan Stanley branches in nine major U.S. cities, including Chicago.
"Morgan Stanley is one of a few remaining large banks that is still funding dirty coal," said Chicago RAN volunteer Charlie Ryan, who distributed flyers about the anti-coal campaign outside a downtown Morgan Stanley location at 440 S. LaSalle St.
"If you look at some of the things they're doing, for example, they continue to finance mountaintop removal. Mountaintop removal is one of the worst ways to mine coal. They blow up the mountain. They don't repair it."
The public can weigh in on a draft water discharge permit for the proposed "Bulldog Mine" in eastern Illinois during a Wednesday evening hearing hosted by the state's Environmental Protection Agency (IEPA).
The Illinois Pollution Control Board (IPCB) has allowed a lawsuit against NRG Energy over groundwater issues to be expanded in light of newly-discovered coal ash ponds near the company's active coal-fired power plants in Illinois.
If 30 percent of the nation's electricity came from wind energy by 2030, the country would sharply cut global warming pollution and meet carbon-reduction targets in the Environmental Protection Agency's proposed Clean Power Plan.
That's according to a recent report by the Environment Illinois Research and Education Center, which analyzed the potential benefits of a scenario in which wind power supplied 30 percent of U.S. electricity needs by 2030. Wind power currently generates 4 percent of the country's electricity.
Achieving 30 percent wind energy by 2030 would reduce U.S. power-plant carbon pollution to 40 percent below 2005 levels, according to the report. And those projected carbon reductions would be more than enough to comply with the EPA's proposed Clean Power Plan regulations, which look to slash CO2 emissions from existing U.S. power plants to 30 percent below 2005 levels by 2030.
"That much wind power would help states meet and exceed the carbon dioxide emission reductions called for by the Environmental Protection Agency's draft Clean Power Plan, and help the nation meet its commitment to cut U.S. carbon pollution by 26 to 28 percent by 2025" as part of a climate change agreement with China announced by President Barack Obama in November, the report reads.