CHICAGO (WBBM)– Six protesters were charged with trespassing Wednesday, after climbing atop a coal pile at the Crawford electric generating station on Chicago’s southwest side.

The protest atop a 25-foot tall coal pile was one of many nationally timed to mark the first anniversary of the BP oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico.

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Abigail Singer of the environmental group Rising Tide-Chicago said the protesters scaled a six-foot-high fence, climbed atop the coal pile outside of the generating station and unfurled a seven-foot-tall, 30-foot-long banner calling on owner Midwest Generation to shut down both the Crawford plant and the nearby Fisk Generating Station.

The plants have been the targets of protests by environmental activists for years. “A lot of people are reflecting on the massive amount of damage that was done to the Gulf during the oil spill last year, and a lot of these damages are still yet to be seen,” Singer said.

The protesters, three men and three women, stood atop the pile for about an hour until police arrived, arrested them, confiscated the banner and escorted them down.

Earlier, members of the same group unfurled two smaller banners on expressway overpasses.

The protest occurred one day before a Chicago City Council committee is scheduled to take up a proposed ordinance that would cut pollution by the Crawford and Fisk plants. The protesters claim that pollution from the two plants create $127 million a year in public health costs.

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