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.

CuMo Mining Exploration Project
Status: WON
July 11, 2016

CuMo Mining Exploration Project

Case: Idaho Conservation League et al VS U.S. Forest Service

Advocates for the West is continuing to fight the CuMo Mining Exploration Project in the Boise River watershed. In 2011, we successfully challenged the Forest Service’s approval of CuMo’s intensive plan to build roads, drill pads, and waste pits and to conduct 24/7 drilling in the headwaters of Grimes Creek, a tributary to Mores Creek…

East Boulder Creek Gold Mining
Status: FAVORABLY-DISMISSED

East Boulder Creek Gold Mining

Case: Idaho Conservation League v. U.S. Forest Service, Case No. 4:15-cv-284 (D. Idaho)

Advocates for the West is challenging the Forest Service’s decision to approve gold mining in the Napoleon Ridge Roadless Area on East Boulder Creek without studying the environmental impacts. East Boulder Creek is a tributary to the main Salmon River and is located approximately 11 miles west of North Fork, Idaho. On July 10, the…

Big Wood River Flows
Status: WON
October 7, 2015

Big Wood River Flows

Case: In the Matter of Application for Permits Nos. 37-22682 & 37-22852 in the name of Innovative Mitigation Solutions, LLC

Advocates for the West is working with the Idaho Conservation League (ICL) to protect flows on Idaho’s famous Big Wood River from a private scheme to make money off of unsustainable water use. Innovative Mitigation Solutions (IMS) applied for a water right to divert 154 CFS of water out of the Big Wood and dump…

Keeping Nuke Waste Out of Idaho
Status: PENDING

Keeping Nuke Waste Out of Idaho

Case: Nuke Waste Notice Letter

On March 5, 2015, Advocates for the West announced it would be representing former Idaho governors Cecil D. Andrus and Philip E. Batt in a call to the State of Idaho and the federal Department of Energy to fully disclose their plans for shipments of commercial spent nuclear fuel to the Idaho National Laboratory (INL). Representing the Governors, Director of Litigation Laird Lucas sent…

North Idaho Coal & Oil Trains
Status: PENDING

North Idaho Coal & Oil Trains

Case: AFW & ICL challenge proposed coal & oil rail bridge in North Idaho

In August 2014, BNSF Railway announced its intention to build a second rail bridge across Lake Pend Oreille. The bridge would accommodate additional rail traffic carrying crude oil from the Bakken and coal from the Powder River Basin to refineries and ports in the Pacific Northwest. The nearly mile-long new bridge would be located east…

Golden Hand Mining Exploration
Status: WON
August 2, 2016

Golden Hand Mining Exploration

Case: Idaho Conservation League et al vs. Lannom, Keith B., Payette National Forest Service Supervisor, and U.S. Forest Service

Advocates for the West is challenging a mining company’s plan to deploy bulldozers, dump trucks, and drill rigs inside the Frank Church-River of No Return Wilderness. The Forest Service released a Draft Record of Decision in December 2014 approving a proposal by American Independence Mines and Minerals (AIMMCO) to perform the industrial-scale mining claim validation work…

Midas Gold Followup Case
Status: PENDING

Midas Gold Followup Case

Case: New Case Pending

January 7th, 2015 – For the third time now, the Forest Service has issued a Draft Environmental Assessment (EA) and proposes to approve Midas Gold’s three-year exploration plan at Idaho’s historic Stibnite mining site. Twice – in response to our pressure – the Forest Service has withdrawn EAs for Midas’s exploration, citing the need for…

Idaho Water Quality: Fish Consumption Rate
Status: SETTLED

Idaho Water Quality: Fish Consumption Rate

Case: Notice of Intent to Sue

Advocates for the West secured a settlement for the Idaho Conservation League in this Clean Water Act action against EPA. The settlement ensures that inadequate water quality standards in Idaho will be revised to better protect people from exposure to dangerous toxins.In 2006, the Idaho Department of Environmental Quality (IDEQ) adopted a new “fish consumption rate”, which estimated…

Idaho Water Quality: Antidegredation
Status: PENDING

Idaho Water Quality: Antidegredation

Case: Notice of Intent to Sue

The Clean Water Act requires every state to adopt Antidegradation Rules to ensure water quality is maintained and not degraded by new discharges of pollution. A key component of each state’s Antidegradation Rules is to prohibit new pollution discharges into the state’s “high quality” lakes, rivers, and streams unless the state determines, after thorough analysis with…

Midas Gold Mining Exploration
Status: WON
June 23, 2014

Midas Gold Mining Exploration

Case: ICL v. USFS/NOAA/FWS

Advocates for the West Staff Attorney Bryan Hurlbutt represents the Idaho Conservation League (ICL) in this case with the Nez Perce Tribe, challenging the Forest Service’s, NOAA’s, and FWS’s approval of Midas Gold’s “Golden Meadows” mining exploration project. Midas Gold plans to construct drill pads and drill 178 holes to explore for gold on the Payette…