Haden cited records outlining that intent, one of which said that "the success or failure of national coal surface mining regulation will depend, to a significant extent, on the role played by citizens in the regulatory process."
Haden further rejected arguments from Miano that laws which normally render public officials immune to lawsuits protect him in this case. Because the plaintiffs seek mainly to block mountaintop mining permits, Miano's 11th Amendment protections do not apply in the suit, Haden concluded.
"Plaintiffs properly allege violations of federal law, which allegations do not offend the Eleventh Amendment," Haden's order said.
Besides wreaking havoc on mountains, forests and waterways, the suit alleges that mountaintop mining has harmed area property values through blasting, damage to water systems and threat of flooding.
Additional companies and groups which stand to benefit from mountaintop mining asked to intervene as defendants in the suit late last month.