WATER in the WEST

In the West, water is a scarce and precious resource. It’s what we drink. It’s what entire ecosystems rely upon to thrive.

Now more than ever, our water is on the line. This limited public resource is so often thoughtlessly misused, mismanaged, and laid waste by corporate interests.

Our water-focused cases employ the Clean Water Act, the Wild & Scenic Rivers Act, other environmental laws, and basic common sense to stop pollution, protect streams and watersheds, and improve water quality, bar none.

Suction Dredge Clean Water Act Enforcement
Status: WON
June 4, 2021

Suction Dredge Clean Water Act Enforcement

Case: Idaho Conservation League v. Shannon Poe, No. 1:18-cv-353-REB (D. Idaho)

June 4, 2021: Chief Magistrate Judge Ronald E. Bush ruled in our favor on all counts, determining that suction dredge miner Shannon Poe polluted the South Fork of the Clearwater River and needed a permit as required under the Clean Water Act. We filed suit against Poe, who dredged for 42 days on the Idaho river,…

Bureau of Reclamation: FOIA Records Request
Status: PENDING

Bureau of Reclamation: FOIA Records Request

Case: WaterWatch of Oregon v. Bureau of Land Reclamation, No. 3:20-cv-01445-HZ

August 25, 2020 — Advocates for the West filed suit under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) to compel the Bureau of Reclamation (BOR) to release certain records that are vital to WaterWatch of Oregon’s ability to participate in its mission to protect Oregon rivers and the species that depend on those rivers. On March 9,…

Bonneville Power Administration: FOIA Records Request
Status: PENDING

Bonneville Power Administration: FOIA Records Request

Case: Advocates for the West v. Bonneville Power Administration, No. 3:20-cv-01028-AC

October 5, 2020 – Advocates for the West filed a motion for partial summary judgment and we are now moving for a court order requiring BPA to disclose documents to us at an accelerated pace. June 26, 2020 — Advocates for the West filed suit under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) to compel the Bonneville…

Micron Water Right Protest
Status: PENDING

Micron Water Right Protest

Case: Protest Filed

December 23, 2019 – Advocates for the West teamed up with former Idaho Supreme Court chief justice Charles McDevitt to file an administrative protest with the Idaho Dept. of Water Resources of behalf of the Idaho Foundation for Parks and Lands (IFPL), objecting to a proposed new water right sought by Micron Corp. to divert…

Kilgore Mine Exploration in Centennial Mountains
Status: WON
December 18, 2019

Kilgore Mine Exploration in Centennial Mountains

Case: Case 1:18-cv-00504-CWD

May 4, 2020 — The U.S. District Court in Idaho revoked the Forest Service’s approval of the Kilgore Project and stopped Otis Gold Corp. (now Excellon Resources Inc.) from moving forward with its exploration project. This important decision follows Judge Winmill’s December 2019 ruling that the Forest Service failed to consider Otis’s underground drilling as a…

Salmon and Steelhead Die-Offs in Columbia and Snake Rivers
Status: WON
December 20, 2019

Salmon and Steelhead Die-Offs in Columbia and Snake Rivers

Case: Columbia Riverkeeper v. Scott Pruitt, Administrator of EPA

May 19, 2020 — EPA released its TMDL to control heat pollution in the Columbia and Snake rivers. EPA’s plan is further evidence that removing the four Lower Snake River dams is necessary to restore salmon and orcas. March 30, 2020 – The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals denied the EPA’s petition to rehear this case….

Midas Gold Clean Water Act Violations
Status: PENDING

Midas Gold Clean Water Act Violations

Case: Case 1:19-cv-00307-BLW

January 9, 2020 — The court issued a decision denying Midas Gold’s motion to stay our case. December 16, 2019 — Advocates for the West argued our case opposing Midas Gold’s motion to stay and motion to dismiss our Clean Water Act case. U.S. District Judge Winmill ruled from the bench denying Midas’s motion to dismiss, and…

Hells Canyon Complex Water Quality
Status: SETTLED

Hells Canyon Complex Water Quality

Case: Petition for Judicial Review

August 31, 2021 – The Nez Perce Tribe reached a settlement agreement with the state of Oregon resolving a case that Advocates for the West filed—along with the Tribe’s Office of Legal Counsel—challenging the state of Oregon’s Clean Water Act section 401 water quality certification for the relicensing of the Hells Canyon Complex. The Hells Canyon Complex, owned…

Idaho Clean Water Act Permitting
Status: WON

Idaho Clean Water Act Permitting

Case: No. 18-72684

September 10, 2020 – After a six-month wait since oral argument, the 9th Circuit ruled on Advocates for the West’s challenge to the EPA’s approval of the Idaho NPDES Program. The opinion rules that we were victorious on the mens rea issue with the court holding that states must have a criminal negligence standard that…

Devil’s Corral Water Rights
Status: FAVORABLY-DISMISSED

Devil’s Corral Water Rights

Case: In the Matter of Application for Permit No. 36-7999 (Devils Corral LLC)

January 23, 2020 – Facing mounting pressure in our water right protest, the development company Devil’s Corral backed down and asked to withdraw its old 1980s water right application. On January 23, 2020, the Idaho Department of Water Resources dismissed the application, ending Devil’s Corral’s attempts to circumvent Idaho water law and avoid public involvement….