Published: Tuesday 15 March 2005

Greenpeace USA

Six Greenpeace activists in Pennsylvania, usa have been sentenced to jail terms ranging from five to 30 days, for a peaceful protest at the the energy major Hatfield's coal power plant at Masontown in June 2004. The plant is run by Allegheny Energy -- a subsidiary of the energy major.

The six had climbed the smokestack at the plant. Their anger was also directed against the Bush administration's energy plan, which favours coal and other dirty energy over clean alternatives such as wind energy and solar power. A 2004 report released by abt associates, a consulting firm used by the Bush administration, found that Pennsylvania leads the country in premature deaths from power plant pollution: 1,825 deaths per year. The report concluded that the Masontown plant alone was responsible for 237 premature deaths, annually.

After the sentences were passed, John Passancantando, executive director, Greenpeace, usa issued a defiant statement: "The state of Pennsylvania has an obligation to hold Allegheny responsible for its continuing violations of the Clean Air Act. It's a miscarriage of justice that these people have been sentenced for protesting against coal-fired plants, while Allegheny Energy violates laws with impunity."

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