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.

Hells Canyon Complex Water Quality

Case: Nez Perce Tribe v. Oregon Department of Environmental Quality, 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

Case: Idaho Conservation League v. U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and Andrew Wheeler

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

Case: In the Matter of Application for Permit

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. Devils…

ITD Motor Waste Wells

Case: Idaho Conservation League v. Brian Ness, Jerry Whitehead, R. James Coleman, Janice Vasser, Dwight Horsch, and Lee Gagner

June 6, 2018 — In response to our Safe Drinking Water Act lawsuit, the Idaho Transportation Department (ITD) recently closed all 70 motor vehicle waste disposal wells at its vehicle and maintenance buildings around the state. Under Safe Drinking Water Act regulations, all motor vehicle waste disposal wells in Idaho were supposed to be closed…

Triumph Mine Arsenic Pollution

Case: Idaho Conservation League v. David Groeschl, and John Tippets

November 27, 2018— After reaching a settlement agreement with the agencies in October, the Court reviewed and approved our settlement. Under the agreement, the Idaho Department of Environmental Quality and Idaho Department of Lands have applied to EPA for a Clean Water Act permit and must regularly monitor ground and surface water quality at the…

Idaho Water Quality: Hells Canyon Pollution

Case: Petition to Revise the 2004 Snake River-Hells Canyon TMDL Under the Clean Water Act

November 13, 2017 — Advocates for the West filed suit against EPA administrator Scott Pruitt for failing to address nutrient pollution in Hells Canyon. March 9, 2015 — Advocates for the West filed a Petition on behalf of Idaho Conservation League asking EPA to revise the Hells Canyon Total Maximum Daily Load (TMDL)–a pollution budget intended to cleanup…

Galena Mine Clean Water Notice of Intent to Sue

Case: Notice Of Intent To Sue U.S. Silver-Idaho, Inc. and Americas Silver Corporation Over Violations of the Clean Water Act

April 19, 2018 — Advocates for the West reached a settlement agreement with U.S. Silver over its violations. May 17, 2017 — Advocates for the West sent a notice of intent to sue to U.S. Silver and its parent corporation Americas Silver Corp., who own and operate the Galena Mine in the Silver Valley of…

Salmon River Suction Dredging

Case: Notice of Intent to Sue for Clean Water Act Violations

May 8, 2017 — Advocates for the West sent a notice of intent to sue to a suction dredge miner for discharging sediment and other pollutants in Idaho’s Salmon River without a Clean Water Act permit. Suction dredge miner Donald Smith has applied for a riverbed mineral lease from the Idaho Department of Lands (IDL). If…

Atlanta Gold Followup Case

Case: Idaho Conservation League and Northwest Environmental Defense Center

September 19, 2019 — Chief Magistrate Judge Ronald E. Bush found that Atlanta Gold still has not fully complied with its clean water permit or prior court orders to do so. This action is the latest in a series of suits we first filed in 2011 to force Atlanta Gold to comply with the Clean…

CuMo Mining Exploration Project

Case: Idaho Conservation League, Idaho Rivers United, and Golden Eagle Audubon Society v. U.S. Forest Service

July 11th, 2016 — Advocates for the West secured a federal court victory for the second time in our ongoing battle to keep Canadian mining company “American CuMo” from developing in the Boise River watershed what it claims could be the largest open pit molybdenum mine in the world. This time it was a rare…