Coal Tattoo

Big news: Judge halts streamlined mining permits

This just in from the federal courthouse here in Charleston:

U.S. District Judge Joseph R. Goodwin today issued his long-awaiting ruling in That other mountaintop removal case.

I’m still reading … but we’ve got a quick breaking news item up on the Gazette’s Web site. And I’ll be making some calls in a bit to get reactions and try to get a better handle on what this means.

Meanwhile, the ruling is available online for free at the court’s website, here.

goodwin03.jpgBriefly: Judge Goodwin appears to have blocked the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers from authorizing further mountaintop removal permits through the Clean Water Act Section 404 “nationwide permits,” a streamlined process meant only for activities that would cause minimal environmental damage.

This differs from the issues in the ruling by U.S. District Judge Robert C. Chambers — overturned last month by the 4th Circuit Court of Appeals — because Judge Chambers was examining questions about the adequacy of the Corps’ review of “individual” permits under Section 404.

Much more to come on this development … I welcome your comments.