Columbus, OH -- At 11:30am Monday morning, about 100 Earth First! activists occupied the headquarters of American Municipal Power, an electric utility that provides statewide service to member communities.

As part of an ongoing series of direct actions, activists confronted CEO Marc Gerken and demanded that AMP-Ohio cancel its plans for construction of a new and widely opposed coal-fired power plant in southeast Ohio.

Dozens of activists charged the building and occupied the lobby, disabled video cameras with silly string, danced on furniture, banged on pots and pans, and delivered anti-coal messages to employees with chants and songs. Five activists locked themselves down in the lobby and two activists climbed the flagpoles in front of the building, hoisting signs that read "no new coal!" and "we won't stop until you do."

Business as usual was disrupted for several hours while police forcibly removed demonstrators from the property, arresting eight. Bail money is still needed for several activists. Please help out by donating to the legal fund at

Morgan Kipler, an Earth First!er from Columbus, said that the proposed plant “is currently the greatest threat to Ohio's health, safety, and welfare, and must be cancelled immediately.”

Earth First! opposes the power plant for a number of reasons. The proposed plant would be a major climate change contributor, emitting 7.3 million tons of CO2 into the air every year. The local impact is just as dramatic: Meigs County ranks number one in the state for lung cancer incidence, and number two for related mortalities.

A study released by the Clean Air Task Force shows Meigs County to be in the center of a tri-state hot zone for premature death rates directly attributable to PM 2.5 exposures. PM 2.5 is the particulate matter released by power plants responsible for a multiplicity of life-shortening illnesses including cancer and cardiovascular and respiratory diseases.

If the proposed AMP-OH plant is built, it will become one of five coal plants within a ten-mile radius to the southern tip of Meigs County. Additionally, four more coal-fired plants have been proposed for construction in the area by other electric utility providers. This is an obvious injustice as it forms the backbone of the highest concentration of coal-fired power plants in the country.

The power plant is also a bad deal for electric customers. Costs of construction have escalated from $1.2 to $2.9 billion since October of 2005, an increase of about $1.7 million per day over the last 3 years! At a time of cost hikes, nationwide power plant cancellations and rejections, and pending federal legislation on global warming emissions, AMP-Ohio is making a bad decision for its member communities, the people of Meigs County, and future generations in Ohio and beyond.

Earth First! said it will continue to resist the construction of the AMP-Ohio plant with a diversity of tactics.