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Activist Biggers fights uphill battle against dirty coal

Jeff Biggers, a civil rights activist and cultural historian, watched helplessly a dozen years ago as the hollers of Eagle Creek, Illinois — a corner of the Shawnee National Forest and his family‚Äôs home for roughly 200 years — were blasted away, the forested hills bulldozed by companies harvesting the lucrative coal seams underground — a scene from Avatar playing out before the movie was made.

Coal country Democratic lawmakers seek extension of Bush mining rules

The conflict between environmental protection and coal extraction is a long simmering political flashpoint in the Appalachian states, which are home to some...