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Jeff Biggers
Jeff Biggers is the American Book Award-winning author of State Out of the Union: Arizona and the Final Showdown Over the American Dream (Nation Books), In the Sierra Madre, The United States of Appalachia, and Reckoning at Eagle Creek: The Secret Legacy of Coal in the Heartland, which won the David Brower Award for Environmental Reporting. His website is:

Entries by Jeff Biggers

Dear Mr. Peabody: No One's Loss of Life, Liberty and Health For Your Coal Profits Is Acceptable Collateral Damage

(0) Comments | Posted April 18, 2014 | 4:52 PM

Falling on the 100th anniversary of the Ludlow coal miners' massacre, a growing movement of citizens groups will gather on Saturday afternoon in St. Louis to join the great Washington University sit-in against Peabody Energy.

The pillars of Big Coal are crumbling...

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Why the Great Wash U Sit-in Against Peabody Coal Matters: Which Side Are You on?

(1) Comments | Posted April 15, 2014 | 9:57 PM

Entering its second week, the inspiring Washington University sit-in against Peabody Energy has already gone beyond its goals to cut school ties with the St. Louis-based coal giant, and forced the rest of the nation to ask themselves an urgent question in an age of climate...

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Coal Rush Kids! Illinois Votes to Keep Big Coal in Schools

(0) Comments | Posted April 8, 2014 | 10:40 AM

While coal mining families in West Virginia and across the country mourned the fourth anniversary of the tragic Upper Big Branch coal mine disaster last week, hailed by US Attorney R. Booth Goodwin II as "a conspiracy to violate mine safety and health laws," the Illinois state legislature...

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More Road Blockades of Peabody Coal's Dead End: Judy's Rock Film Chronicles Strip Mine Showdown in Southern Illinois (VIDEO)

(3) Comments | Posted March 28, 2014 | 9:06 AM

While Peabody Energy may have hired a notorious public relations firm to hawk its international ad campaign, a village trustee and her rural farming community have exposed the devastating legacy of the world's largest coal company near its historic Illinois beginnings.

Meet Judy Kellen and...

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Illinois Residents File Intent to Sue for Federal Takeover of Rogue Coal Mining Agencies

(0) Comments | Posted March 25, 2014 | 8:33 AM

What happens when government regulators fail to uphold coal mining laws, in a state of constant violations?

No one knows better than residents in Illinois: Today marks the March 25th anniversary of the tragic Centralia, Illinois coal disaster, when government inaction on a violation-ridden coal mine led to...

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UDPATE: Road Blockade Stops Peabody Loggers: Mr. Peabody's Coal Train Ain't Haulin' Rocky Branch Away: Illinois Residents Move to Halt Violation-Ridden Strip Mine

(2) Comments | Posted March 13, 2014 | 9:02 AM

UPDATE: Rocky Branch Road Peaceful Blockade Stops Peabody
11:30 am CST

Facing off with the world's largest coal company, which literally sank its first historic mine nearby in 1895, Rocky Branch farmers, residents and supporters fighting to protect their Shawnee Hills community against a violation-ridden and potentially devastating strip...

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Breaking: Peabody Loggers Break Ground on Controversial Shawnee Hills Strip Mine -- Without Mining Permit

(1) Comments | Posted March 11, 2014 | 6:20 PM

With mounting violations and administrative errors, will Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan finally intervene in the most controversial strip mine in southern Illinois?

This question is being raised today by farmers and residents fighting to save their historic community from destruction in Saline County, as out-of-state...

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Should Sierra Club Endorse Coal Rush/Fracking Gov. Quinn -- Or Call Out Environmental Disaster?

(3) Comments | Posted February 28, 2014 | 3:08 PM

Is it enough for Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn and state treasurer candidate Mike Frerichs to hustle today to purge their campaigns of tainted coal industry contributions from a growing mine safety regulator scandal, or should citizens groups and environmentalists hold the Democratic candidates accountable for their...

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Fracking Illinois: As State Falters, County Vote to Ban Fracking Gains Support -- And Media Blackout

(2) Comments | Posted February 27, 2014 | 8:18 AM

As the national media puts the spotlight on the "FrackGate" public relations scandal in Ohio, where state officials worked to "marginalize opponents of fracking by teaming up with corporations--including Halliburton--business groups and media outlets," Illinois residents behind a groundbreaking ballot initiative to ban fracking in rural Johnson County...

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Illinois Residents Stand Up to Peabody Coal at Historic EPA Hearing: Will AG Madigan Bring Justice to Rocky Branch?

(1) Comments | Posted February 20, 2014 | 7:58 AM

Outnumbering Peabody Energy supporters more than four to one among those willing to make public comments, outraged residents, farmers and former miners expertly broke down the inconsistencies and errors in the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency's tentative determination to issue a water quality permit at a packed strip mine...

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Illinois Strip Mine Showdown Is Last Best Hope for Coalfield Justice

(4) Comments | Posted February 13, 2014 | 8:20 AM

When besieged residents, already choked by toxic coal dust, face off with Peabody Energy officials on Tuesday, February 18, in Harrisburg, at an Illinois Environmental Protection Agency hearing for a five-year strip mine expansion permit, more than 1,019 paltry acres will be at stake.


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Game Over? Obama Gifts Big Coal $1 Billion for FutureGen in Illinois

(15) Comments | Posted January 17, 2014 | 10:38 AM

In the same days an entrepreneur went on federal trial for fraud over an unproven "clean coal" scheme, President Obama's Department of Energy gave a game-changing approval for a $1 billion gift to continue the unproven FutureGen "clean coal" boondoggle in Illinois.


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Book of the Year: Ashes Rain Down by William Luvaas: Love Stories in the Time of Climate Change

(0) Comments | Posted December 17, 2013 | 7:18 AM

While comparisons to Cormac McCarthy's powerful The Road novel seem inevitable, William Luvaas' brilliant new collection of short stories, Ashes Rain Down: A Story Cycle, is a wildly inventive and epic comedy of prophetic visions, and a masterpiece of fiction for our own modern times.

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Illinois Environmental Council Announces Fight to End Coal Subsidies: Will Gov. Quinn and 'Clean Coal' Frerichs Follow?

(0) Comments | Posted December 12, 2013 | 9:52 PM

Amid a growing controversy over the state's pension cuts and budget crises, the Illinois Environmental Council broke from its past neutrality over heavily-subsidized "clean coal" projects and announced its commitment today to an end to budget-draining state subsidies to the coal industry.


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Dear Sen. Rockefeller: Citizens Appeal for 'Time Out' on Mountaintop Removal in 2014

(2) Comments | Posted December 12, 2013 | 7:26 AM

Four years after the late Sen. Robert Byrd's frank admission that "most members of Congress, like most Americans, oppose the practice" of mountaintop removal mining, "and we may not yet fully understand the effects of mountaintop removal mining on the health of our citizens," West Virginia residents traveled...

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Meet Anne Royall: The Muckraker Who Made Washington Bow Down in Fear

(4) Comments | Posted December 4, 2013 | 7:36 AM

On December 3rd in 1831, freewheeling author Anne Royall launched the nation's first muckraking newspaper in Washington, D.C., forever changing the state of journalism.

"We shall advocate the liberty of the press, the liberty of speech, and the liberty of conscience," Royall declared in the debut issue of Paul...

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Free Mike Roselle From Jail: Free Appalachia From Mountaintop Removal

(26) Comments | Posted November 30, 2013 | 11:31 AM

Nearly four years ago, long-time environmental activist and Kentucky-native Mike Roselle sat in the Southern Regional Jail in Beaver, West Virginia, with one simple message: Mountaintop removal mining, the most egregious human rights and environmental violation tolerated in our nation, must be abolished, not regulated.

A couple of...

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Fracking Illinois: Two or Three Things We Know for Sure

(11) Comments | Posted November 19, 2013 | 2:43 PM

In this age of climate destabilization, including record bouts of drought, flooding and severe storms in the heartland, it seems almost unreal that the Democrat-controlled state of Illinois is leading the charge for a fracking and coal mining rush.

And this week, as central...

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Regeneration Stories in Scarred Times: My Son, Our Planet

(3) Comments | Posted October 30, 2013 | 7:41 PM

Ever since my son was diagnosed with a rare ocular syndrome and retinal scarring last winter, I have found myself returning to the promise of regeneration -- in our stories, our health and our ecosystems.

When it comes to our health, the potential for regenerative medicine seems to be...

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Illinois' Teachable Moment: The True Cost of Coal, Slavery and Historical Markers

(2) Comments | Posted October 28, 2013 | 9:46 PM

As another coal train derailed in southern Illinois last weekend, the Illinois State Historical Society teamed up with the Illinois Coal Association on Saturday for their own collision with history during the installation of a historical marker for the state's "First Coal Mine."


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