Owners of mountain-top coal mining operations do not generally make for sympathetic litigants. But it is not hard to understand why the Mingo Logan Coal Company would be upset about a decision last month from the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia holding that the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) can prohibit a discharge site under section 404 of the Clean Water Act (CWA) “whenever” it finds an unacceptable effect on aquatic resources, even, as in Mingo’s case, over three years after the permit authorizing the discharge site was issued. Mingo Logan Coal Co. v. U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, slip op. No. 12-5150 (D.C. Cir. April 23, 2013). The controversial decision could have far-reaching effects: it will provide EPA a powerful…