Published on Wednesday, May 25, 2011 by the Chicago Tribune
Smokestack Protesters Come Down, Arrested
by Deanese Williams-Harris and Pat Curry
Amid heavy rain, eight Greenpeace anti-pollution protesters this morning came down from the smokestack of a Pilsen coal-fired plant and were promptly arrested by
"It's a combination of bad weather and feeling we've got the message out," said Molly Dorozenski, a spokeswoman for the group, explaining the end of the protest that began at dawn Tuesday.
Three women and five men were arrested at 8
A separate group of eight activists from the same organization were arrested Tuesday afternoon after apparently rappelling off a bridge where police found them "hanging" from ropes, said Police News Affairs Officer Ron Gaines.
They claimed on the Greenpeace website that their presence dangling above the
Those arrested all were from out of state and were charged with misdemeanor reckless conduct and performing an aerial exhibition without a net, Kubiak said.
The arrests were made shortly before 5 p.m. at the bridge at
Earlier Tuesday, the first group of activists scaled the smokestack at the aging Fisk plant,
The yellow banners read
A spokesman for
"On the substance of what they're doing, we find it kind of ironic with the EPA hearings setting lower mercury standard goals for 2015, we fully support what's going on," he said. "In fact, we've been working on lowering mercury emissions since 2008. The hearings call for lowering emissions by 2015, so we're already ahead on that."
The plants long have been targeted by environmental groups and
The activists scaled the smokestack at about dawn and planned to stay until Midwest Generation heeds their concerns, said Edyta Sitko, Greenpeace field organizer in
"We want the plants shut down now," she said.
The former ComEd plants also are the subject of anti-pollution lawsuits filed by the
Pollution problems at the two plants have been well-documented. Both are major sources of lung-damaging soot and other noxious chemicals, according to the protesters and a Tribune investigation.
Deanese Williams-Harris is a Tribune reporter. Pat Curry is WGN-TV managing editor.
© 2011 Chicago Tribune
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"The master class has always declared the wars; the subject class has always fought the battles. The master class has had all to gain and nothing to lose, while the subject class has had nothing to gain and everything to lose--especially their lives." Eugene Victor Debs