The greatest farce in the whole wide world of threatened species, the northern spotted owl, was dealt a significant blow Tuesday in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit.

The court unanimously ruled that timber companies have legal standing to challenge the owl’s designated critical habitat — 9.5 million acres in three states — because it is harmful to the industry.

“The council has demonstrated a substantial probability that the critical habitat designation will cause a decrease in the supply of timber from the designated forest lands,” Judge Brett Kavanaugh wrote, adding that there’s also evidence that “council members will suffer economic harm as a result of the decrease in the timber supply from those forest lands.”

Didja get that? Economic harm.

This is an important victory for all natural resources. It means that so-called critical habitat for other threatened species can be challenged if it’s harmful to the industry, and it is. The whole point of designating a critical habitat is to block the development of natural resources and eliminate grazing rights and other development.

This is a huuuge victory for California, Oregon and Washington state, as well as the entire west, where environmentalists are using critical habitat as a tool to hang “no trespassing” signs on public lands.