APOLLO BEACH, Fla. - More than 100 protestors gathered outside of TECO's Big Bend power plant for more than two hours Thursday.
People from Romneyville, Occupy NY and the environmental group Earth First! made up the crowd.
The group's goal was to blockade the plant in order to bring attention to corporate influence in politics and the ecological impacts of fossil fuel dependency. Members claim this year's RNC was funded by an estimated $55 million in corporate payoffs by operations like TECO Energy, Chevron, Duke Energy and Exxon Mobile.
"This is the dirtiest power plant in Florida," said Kristen Harvey with Earth First!. "We are here because coal is destroying out communities and coal money is destroying our democracy."
A TECO spokesperson refuted the claim that the power plant is dirty. Instead, they said the company spent millions of dollars to cut emissions in half and the plant is now listed as one of the cleanest nationwide.
Face-to-face with dozens of Hillsborough County Sheriff's deputies, the protest went on for almost two hours and no one was arrested or hurt. However, around 5 p.m., deputies told protestors they had to leave or they would be arrested. Most left and Occupiers boarded a bus to their next location.
There were also three people who laid down in the middle of an entryway to the plant and chained themselves to a pipe. Deputies eventually cut the pipe in half and those three left peacefully.
The protest forced dozens of truck drivers delivering coal to stop on roadside and at gas stations. Around 5:45 p.m., entrances to the plant were reopened and the drivers pulled in.
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As the afternoon sea breezes kick in, we will see mainly inland showers and storms developing. They will dry up shortly after sunset.