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Portland Activist Arrested in Pittsburgh: faces charges

Portland activist Josh Raisler Cohn was arrested this week after a banner drop at coal plant in Pittsburgh. He faces charges of four state misdemeanors, three state felonies, and two federal felonies.
Peaceful Protestors Charged With Felonies For Highlighting Bush's Dirty Energy Plan

After hanging a banner on one of the dirtiest coal plants in the country to protest the Bush Administration's energy plan, six peaceful Greenpeace activists were charged with multiple state and federal felonies. The four women and two men scaled the 700-foot smoke stack at the Hatfield's Ferry power plant, 50 miles south of Pittsburgh, and unfurled a 2,500 square foot banner that read, "The Bush Energy Plan Kills - Clean Energy Now!"

The climbers have been charged with four state misdemeanors, three state felonies and two federal felonies.

"Federal felonies charges against Greenpeace activists are completely unwarranted and should be immediately dismissed," said Greenpeace Energy Campaigner Casey Harrell. 'The real threat to Americans is the Bush energy plan, which kills over 23,000 people every year."

The arrested climbers are: Jessica Miller and Renee Blanchard of Washington, D.C.; Josh Raisler Cohn of Portland, Oregon; Virginia Hunter of Los Angeles, California; Lynn Stone of Maine and John Watterberg of Brooklyn, New York.

The Bush administration has systematically weakened clean air laws by allowing power stations to install new equipment without adding pollution controls, and permitting coal-fired power plants to continue to release tons of mercury into the air and waterways. In addition to its negative impacts on health, dirty energy wreaks havoc on the environment, causing global warming, acid rain, and smog.

The Hatfield's Ferry Power Station in Masontown, Pennsylvania was under investigation by the Justice Department for violating the Clean Air Act - an investigation that was dropped by the Bush administration.

Greenpeace activists scaled the 700-ft coal plant smokestack at Hatfield's Ferry Power Station to denounce Bush's dirty power plan. A 2,500-square-foot banner reading "THE BUSH ENERGY PLAN KILLS - CLEAN ENERGY NOW!" was unfurled.

At the same time, one activist circled the smokestack with a powered parachute, flying with the message, "CLEAN ENERGY - CLEAN AIR" on its chute.

For more information see www.greenpeaceusa.org/index.fpl/10386/article/1191.html
They face about 95 years of charges right now 26.Jun.2004 07:02


These folks are each facing about 95 years of prison time for their total combind charges for hanging a banner!!

? 26.Jun.2004 07:23


Pictures are nice.

go pittsburgh! 26.Jun.2004 13:44

pittsburgher in pdx

I'm from Western PA, and I LOVE to see Pittsburgh activism represented here on pdx imc. The pollution there is pretty bad, although not as bad as it once was. Both my parents worked in the steel mill growing up, and the jobs were so lucrative back then that not many people thought about or cared enough about the harm it had on the environment. My mother told me how she used to put clothes on the line to dry outside and within an hour they would have this yucky film on them that was just in the air. Somone wrote a book about it recently called "When smoke ran like water." She said that in the town she grew up in Western PA, it was normal to drive with yr headlights on in the daytime because of the smoke in the air! So I'm glad to see people are doing this and reminding others that the pollution isn't over just b/c the steel mills closed down.

Actual Charges 26.Jun.2004 17:28


the charges they are actually facing are: criminal conspiracy (federal felony) destruction of an energy facility (federal felony), riot (state felony), burglary (state felony) criminal trespass (state felony) and four lesser state charges of disorderly conduct, criminal mischief, failure to dispurse, and reckless endangerment.

they have a schedualed preliminary hearing in Pittsburgh, PA for the federal charges next thursday, July 1st, and a tentative state preliminry hearing the next day.

what do you suppose they are calling 26.Jun.2004 18:13


"destruction" and "riot"? I hope they have a sane judge.

Good work 28.Jun.2004 11:35


Pittsburgh judges are usually fair about activist. Better that PDX. I'm hopeful that the felonies will be dropped.

good luck josh 30.Jun.2004 07:39


we're all sending good thoughts your way. much love.

Is AMERICA insane? 30.Jun.2004 13:28

Concerned PDX student

How can they even entertain the though of prosecuting these people to that extent. We have murders, pedifiles, repeat offenders, robbers...etc... all getting slaps on the wrist and walking for what they have done. When jails are full we just let'em out! How can they do this of law abiding citizens who are trying to get a message out? Come on, i would support the litigations if maybe they were tossing a bomb in the top of that smoke stack, but what harm does a banner do?? I am beginning to wonder is there anything we can actual do to stand up against wrong governmental policies.