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14

Greenpeace Protesters Arrested in Pa.

Six Greenpeace activists evaded security and climbed atop a 750 foot smokestack at a coal-fired power plant to hang a banner protesting President Bush's energy policy

Six Greenpeace activists evaded security and climbed atop a 750-foot smokestack at a coal-fired power plant to hang a banner protesting President Bush's energy policy. They were arrested when they climbed back down after several hours.

The protesters sneaked past security guards and cameras, and apparently cut an opening in a chain link fence early Wednesday, according to a criminal complaint. The group then climbed the smokestack at the Hatfield's Ferry Power Station and unfurled a 2,500-square-foot banner Wednesday morning, according to federal officials and a Greenpeace spokeswoman, Nancy Hwa.

They began climbing down Wednesday night and were arrested.

"Owned by Allegheny Energy, this plant ranks as one of the worst polluters in the country, violating environmental standards and causing numerous health problems including premature death," the group said in a news release.

The activists were charged with burglary, criminal trespassing, rioting and related offenses, state police said Thursday. Federal authorities also charged them with conspiracy and destruction of an energy facility. They were released after posting bond.

Federal prosecutors claim the protest hampered the startup of a unit at the coal power plant, distracted workers from their jobs and prevented trucks removing fly ash, a byproduct of burning coal. The plant is about 40 miles south of Pittsburgh