Grim news: Mountaintop mining is once again set to go full steam ahead.

In July of last year, a federal judge revoked 11 mountaintop mining permits issued under the Nationwide Permit 21 process by the Army Corps of Engineers. NP21 is a streamlined permitting process meant to govern activities that have minimal environmental impact. Judge Joseph R. Goodwin, being sentient and in possession of his faculties, ruled that mountaintop mining does not fall under that description and that permitting it under NP21 violates the Clean Water Act.

Environmentalists hailed Goodwin’s ruling as a landmark victory.

Today, a federal appeals court overturned it.

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The three judges of the United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit — widely regarded as the most conservative of the 13 U.S. appellate courts — unanimously ruled that the Corps had in fact acted in accordance with the Clean Water Act. Here’s the ruling as HTML and here it is as a PDF.

Helluva way to head into Thanksgiving.

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