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.

Salmon River Navigability
Status: PENDING

Salmon River Navigability

Case: Salmon River Navigability challenge by Idaho Conservation League

In January 2014, Advocates for the West’s Staff Attorney Bryan Hurlbutt filed a petition on behalf of the Idaho Conservation League asking the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to revisit its determination from the 1930′s that Idaho’s Salmon River is not navigable. Because of this flawed determination, the Salmon River and endangered fish species are not receiving important…

Salmon River Suction Dredging
Status: FAVORABLY-DISMISSED

Salmon River Suction Dredging

Case: CVOC1218520

On October 12, 2012, Advocates for the West filed a Petition for Judicial Review on behalf of Idaho Conservation League challenging the State of Idaho’s approval of a riverbed mineral lease to Mike Conklin. The lease would have allowed Mr. Conklin to intensively suction dredge a half-mile segment of the bed of Idaho’s famed Salmon River approximately 13…

Idaho Water Quality Standards
Status: DISMISSED

Idaho Water Quality Standards

Case: Idaho Water Quality Standards

Advocates for the West represented Idaho Conservation League (ICL) in this successful action against EPA for failing to timely approve or disapprove important water quality standards in Idaho. In 2006, Idaho adopted a new fish consumption rate, which estimates the amount of fish people catch and eat from Idaho’s lakes and rivers. Idaho used the fish…

Atlanta Gold
Status: WON
January 9, 2012

Atlanta Gold

Case: 1:11-cv-00161-MHW

After a 2005 lawsuit by Advocates for the West on behalf of Idaho Conservation League, Atlanta Gold agreed to get a permit under the Clean Water Act for pollution discharging from a mine adit near Atlanta, Idaho into Montezuma Creek, a tributary of the Middle Fork Boise River. Atlanta Gold got its permit, but the pollution levels…

CuMo Mine
Status: WON
August 29, 2012

CuMo Mine

Case: Idaho Conservation League et al v. Boise National Forest

Advocates for the West represented Idaho Conservation League, Idaho Rivers United, and Golden Eagle Audubon Society in this successful challenge to the Forest Service approval of Canadian mining company Mosquito Gold’s plan to explore for copper and molybdenum in the headwaters of Grimes Creek on nearly 3000 acres of Boise National Forest land. The mountainous project…

Mega-loads on Highway 12
Status: WON
October 1, 2011

Mega-loads on Highway 12

Case: Laughy et al v. Idaho Transportation Dept.

Advocates for the West is working with concerned individuals and conservation groups to oppose plans by Exxon Mobil, ConocoPhillips, and other Big Oil companies to convert the Wild and Scenic Lochsa and Middle Fork Clearwater rivers corridor along U.S. Highway 12 into a high-and-wide industrial corridor devoted to the transport of massive oil extraction equipment…

Atlanta Mine
Status: WON
January 9, 2012

Atlanta Mine

Case: Snake River Basin Adjudication subcases 63-2446 et seq.

Atlanta, Idaho is a small town that once saw extensive mining operations; but all commercial mining stopped by 1963 when the ore played out.  Recently, a mining company has proposed to develop a large, cyanide heap-leach mine at the Atlanta site, which is located on the Middle Fork of the Boise River — the headwaters…

Arsenic water quality standards
Status: SETTLED

Arsenic water quality standards

Case: ICL v. EPA, July 2008 notice letter

Otter Creek Diversion Challenge
Status: WON
November 21, 2002

Otter Creek Diversion Challenge

Case: IWP v. Jones, 00-cv-730-BLW (D. Idaho)

Endangered Species Act citizen suit against Verl and Tuddie Jones for unlawful “take” of threatened bull trout through operation of their unscreened diversion on Otter Creek, located on Salmon Challis National Forest public lands. We won an injunction prohibiting further diversions until the irrigator obtained a special use permit from US Forest Service, and it conducted ESA consultation…

Herd Creek diversion
Status: SETTLED

Herd Creek diversion

Case: IWP v. Bennetts, 00-cv-729 (D. Idaho)

Endangered Species Act citizen suit against Jim Bennetts for unlawful “take” of threatened salmon, steelhead, and bull trout associated with his unscreened public lands diversions on Herd Creek and Lake Creek (East Fork Salmon River watershed), and because of livestock damage to critical habitat on his base property. After we filed for summary judgment supported by several…