Update! The Smokestack Six

Feature story - February 1, 2005
Thanks to all of you who supported the Smokestack Six - the four women and two men that scaled a 700-foot smokestack to highlight the dangers of a dirty coal plant and the Bush administration's failure to protect communities living in the shadows of polluting power plants. On February 15, 2005, these activists were able to resolve their case with the District Attorney of Greene County, Pennsylvania. We're happy to report that after generating more than 7,500 faxes from supporters, the unwarranted felony charge was dropped! The group has always maintained that they were prepared to take responsibility for their actions and that's just what they did. These six activists served their jail sentences ranging from four days to one month. All are now free!

Greenpeace activists climb a 700-foot coal plant smokestack to denounce Bush's dirty power plan. (c) Greenpeace/Virginia Lee Hunter

However, we know that Allegheny Energy, the owner of the Hatfield's Ferry plant where the protest took place, is the real criminal. Allegheny apparently would rather see peaceful individuals in jail instead of cleaning up the plant that causes 237 premature deaths in Southwestern Pennsylvania each year.

Other environmental groups in Pennsylvania are also taking on Allegheny Energy. Citizens for Pennsylvania's Future (PennFuture), has recently filed a lawsuit against Allegheny Energy for violating the Clean Air Act. However, the state of Pennsylvania has the authority to stop Allegheny Energy from polluting now.


Send a fax to Kathleen McGinty, head of the Pennsylvania Department of Environment, demanding that she stop stalling and risking the lives of community members. The time to clean up Hatfield's Ferry is now!

Visit our discussion center to send messages of support to our activists as they serve their sentences.

Learn why these activists decided to take action:


"I'm here because I cannot stand by and watch the Bush Administration take advantage of the American people anymore. Dirty power like this coal plant is poisoning our planet and our bodies. The American people have the right to know how damaging these plants are and that clean energy is available now."


"President Bush allows dirty power plants like Hatfield's Ferry to continue to spew out poison, which pollutes our bodies, our water and air. We need a commitment to clean energy like solar and wind to provide us with safe and secure energy for the future."


"My family lives downwind from a number of coal plants and I'm concerned about their health, especially the health of my two year-old niece. America could be a world leader in reducing emissions and consumption of natural resources if the political will was there. The change over to clean energy could slow global warming and the acidification of the world's oceans. As an avid scuba diver, the continuing destruction of the world's coral reefs is unacceptable, and this direct action expresses my concern."


"In 1972, my friend Chad was buried in coal sludge in a dam break in Buffalo Creek, WV. His mother and older brother were killed by the sludge after tossing baby Chad as far up the valley wall as possible. When he was rescued and the sludge cleared from his throat, he was raised by his father, a coal miner, and became known as the "Buffalo Creek Disaster Miracle Baby." I am here to ensure a future where families such as Chad's never have to face such tragedy due to dirty energy."


I'm doing this because I am tired of President Bush allowing dirty energy to kill my friends and family when there are clean energy alternatives available. When people become informed of just how sick President Bush is making us they will make him stop and admit that clean energy is ready to be widely used."


For me, this is an opportunity to combine my concerns with the present conditions of our environment and connect to the political state of affairs with my photography."


Learn more about the protest.

Get all the dirt on Hatfield's Ferry.