"The damage to the ecosystem will be total, swift and irreversible," Lovett said.
Roger Wolfe, a lawyer for Hobet, argued that the company's immediate plans were only to start work on sediment ponds that would cover 5 to seven acres.
"There won't be 7 square miles of forest destruction or anything like that in the next 10 days," Wolfe said. "It's not significant impact. It's not irreparable harm."
Haden said, "It's obvious that the economic impacts on Hobet are significant and serious. I'll take you at your word that there is a loss of $1 million a month with no action."
But, the judge added that under the Clean Water Act and the Surface Mining and Reclamation Act, "While economic concerns are a consideration, the paramount considerations have to do with environmental matters such as water quality."
The legal battle over the Hobet mine is a spinoff of a larger and more complex suit, also before Haden, which attempts to seriously curb mountaintop removal mining statewide.
In his bench ruling Wednesday, Haden said of that suit, "It is abundantly clear that there are serious legal questions raised by the parties in this case, upon which there is very serious disagreement among [the parties].
"As much daylight ... as we can put on these issues, where they can be resolved appropriately in this courtroom, the better off the agencies are and the public is," Haden said.