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Group Asks Banks to Pass on Coal Power

A coalition of environmental groups says it has won commitments from more than a dozen banks in the last few weeks to turn away from supporting coal- fired electric plants, The Boston Globe reports.

But several banks aren’t falling in line – including Merrill Lynch, Citigroup, and Morgan Stanley – which have agreed to arrange financing for TXU Corp. to build 11 new pulverized-coal power plants at a cost of $11 billion. The plants would release an estimated 78 million tons of carbon monoxide per year.

“Currently, if a coal-fired power plant in the United States receives its environmental permits, receives an OK from relevant environmental authorities, goes through a public commenting process that allows locally-affected people and civil society to give their own point of view, and goes through our internal and independent environmental and social review, then I think it is meeting a robust standard,” said Shawn Miller, Citigroup’s director of environmental and social risk management.

Citigroup, which owns or rents 13,000 properties, has pledged to cut its own emissions by 10 percent by 2010.

Tim Greeff, a global warming specialist at the Natural Resources Defense Council said Citigroup’s internal and external environmental policies were not consistent. “It is sort of like allowing Philip Morris to claim they are fighting tobacco addiction by asking their own employees not to smoke, while continuing to sell cigarettes to everyone else,” Greeff said.

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