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.

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 Twice – in response to our pressure – the Forest Service has withdrawn EAs for Midas’s exploration, citing the need for…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…

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…