E2 Round-up: EPA approves mountaintop mine, drilling in Colorado, and more on shale gas

But environmentalists attacked the deal, noting it still allows several miles of streams to vanish under the rubble. “"This is a political deal, not a scientific deal," said Joe Lovett, director of the Appalachian Center for the Economy and the Environment, in the Gazette’s account.

Dow Jones notes that the decision – and a separate deal to continue discussions on allowing a separate large Appalachian project – highlights “the Obama administration's up-and-down stance on mountaintop coal mining.”

Turning from coal to oil-and-gas . . . As we noted yesterday, Interior Secretary Ken Salazar will announce changes to federal permitting programs Wednesday. At the state level, the Associated Press notes that Colorado issued 5,100 drilling permits last year, down from over 8,000 in 2008.

Energy companies and industry trade groups say new state rules have gummed up the permit process.

A few miles east in New York, natural gas producer Chesapeake Energy is warning that proposed state rules on shale gas drilling will scare off the industry and thereby deprive the state of money, Reuters reports.