"This plant runs on destroyed mountains, it spews out air pollution, it causes climate change and it poisons the water and the earth," said Greenpeace climate campaigner and activist Robert Gardner. "If Duke merges with Progress, the new owners have a responsibility to the people of North Carolina to move to clean energy."
Employees at the power station said they do not have media people on site to speak about the protestors.
Progress Energy tweeted about the protests, saying protestors attached themselves to plant equipment, including the smokestacks.
The power company said multiple local and state law enforcement agencies responded to the plant and they were working closely with them to "protect the people and plant assets."
Progress Energy said their primary goals revolved around safety, protecting "the trespassers to first responders, as this is large and dangerous equipment," and protecting the equipment and ensuring they "can continue to provide reliable electricity for Western NC."
Lt. Randy Sorrells, with the Buncombe County Sheriff's Office, said 16 protestors were arrested on trespassing charges and they worked with emergency management and the fire department to get the activists down safely.
Sorrells said they were in communication with the climbers, who were very cordial, and were working to get them all to surrender and bring them down safely before dark.
As their investigation continues, Sorrells said more charges could be filed related to the protest affecting production of power. He said there are federal statutes related, but it would be up to the US Attorney's Office to review the incident and file their own charges.
On Tuesday, deputies said all 16 protestors were charged with charged with misdemeanor trespassing. They were all released on a $1000 secured bond and given a court date in District Court.
Copyright 2012 FOX Carolina (Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved.
Friday, May 24 2013 11:19 PM EDT2013-05-25 03:19:38 GMT
A Greenville County man who was reported missing Friday night has been located. Deputies reported that Jada Eugene Hayes, 87, was seen leaving his residence on Courtland Drive in his green Honda CivicMore >
A Greenville County man who was reported missing Friday night has been located.More >