HOW the WEST is WON

The groundwork has been laid. Many wild spaces in the West remain rugged, varied, and open—largely because they have been designated to stay that way by presidential and congressional decree. A vast network of public lands stretch across the West, protected in theory—but not always in practice.

Managed by the Bureau of Land Management, Forest Service, Fish & Wildlife Service, National Park Service, and other agencies, the federal government oversees hundreds of millions of acres of land—and the air, water and wildlife they hold—in the West.

But too often, the very agencies designated to protect the West’s natural treasures allow grazing, mining, energy development and other destructive practices to pollute, damage, and destroy. We step in to hold these agencies accountable to law and science.

Advocates for the West is the legal voice that speaks up when the environment calls for it. We partner pro bono with conservation groups to help enforce the bedrock environmental statutes now in place to protect our public lands.

We win or favorably settle over 85% of our cases. When we do, it advances the endeavors of every conservation group in the West.

We wield law and science to stand our ground. Nowadays, it’s how the West is won.

Sage Hen Project Logging
Status: SETTLED
October 19, 2022

Sage Hen Project Logging

Case: Idaho Conservation League v. U.S. Forest Service and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, No. 1:21-cv-00504-CWD

October 19, 2022 — Advocates for the West reached a settlement requiring the Forest Service to develop an additional alternative with reduced road construction and commercial logging for the Sage Hen Restoration Project on Idaho’s Boise National Forest. December 20, 2021 — Advocates for the West filed a lawsuit on behalf of Idaho Conservation League (ICL)…

Oil & Gas Drilling in the Uncompahgre Region
Status: SETTLED
October 17, 2022

Oil & Gas Drilling in the Uncompahgre Region

Case: Oil & Gas Drilling in the Uncompahgre Region

October 17, 2022 — Advocates for the West reached a settlement agreement with the BLM that prevents the issuance of new oil and gas leases for lands in the Uncompahgre planning area until the agency conducts a more thorough environmental analysis and develops an amended plan. Under the agreement, the BLM must reconsider the eligibility of lands open to oil and…

San Pedro Riparian National Conservation Area Grazing
Status: SETTLED
August 1, 2022

San Pedro Riparian National Conservation Area Grazing

Case: Case 4:20-cv-00149-JGZ

August 1, 2022 — Advocates for the West filed a settlement agreement sending the Bureau of Land Management back to its planning desk to reconsider the impacts of livestock grazing on the San Pedro Riparian National Conservation Area. The settlement compels the Bureau to reconsider the compatibility of grazing authorizations on four allotments within the…

Challenging Wildlife Killing Program in Idaho
Status: SETTLED
June 30, 2022

Challenging Wildlife Killing Program in Idaho

Case: Case 1:20-cv-00213-DCN

June 24, 2022 — Advocates for the West and our partners filed a settlement agreement in federal court that will help protect Idaho’s native carnivores through a number of measures. The settlement gives Wildlife Services until the end of 2024 to complete a new environmental review of its activities on federal lands, and mandates that…

Logging in the Salmon-Clearwater Divide
Status: WON
June 24, 2022

Logging in the Salmon-Clearwater Divide

Case: Case 3:21-cv-00189-CWD

June 24, 2022 — Advocates for the West won a major victory halting the “End of the World” and “Hungry Ridge” projects. In the decision, the U.S. District Court for the District of Idaho agreed that the Forest Service failed to ensure required minimum amounts of old growth will be protected from logging. The Court…

Hells Canyon Complex Water Quality
Status: SETTLED
August 31, 2021

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…

Willamette Basin Water Reallocation
Status: WON
July 15, 2021

Willamette Basin Water Reallocation

Case: Case 3:20-cv-00413

July 15, 2021 – Advocates for the West received a strong ruling in our favor when the court issued a draft order outlining the actions that the Army Corps must immediately take to protect threatened salmon and steelhead in the Willamette River. Judge Hernandez made clear he “has no patience for further delay or obfuscation in this…

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)

February 4, 2022 —In our long-running Clean Water Act case for the Idaho Conservation League against suction dredge miner Shannon Poe, Advocates for the West filed a brief asking the court to order Poe to pay $564,924 in penalties for his unpermitted gold mining on the South Fork Clearwater River. Additionally, it asks the Court…

Sheep Experiment Station Followup Case
Status: WON
April 16, 2021

Sheep Experiment Station Followup Case

Case: Case 1:19-cv-00065-REB

April 16, 2021 — A federal ruled in favor of Advocates for the West and against the reauthorization and expansion of domestic sheep grazing in and around the US Sheep Experiment Station in Idaho’s Centennial Mountains on the Idaho-Montana border. With this decision, the Sheep Station is not permitted to graze sheep on the summer pastures…

Air Force Urban Warfare Training
Status: WON
October 1, 2020

Air Force Urban Warfare Training

Case: Case 1:19-cv-00103-CWD

October 1, 2020 — The court ruled a sweeping victory for Advocates for the West in our case challenging Air Force urban military training exercises over Boise and other parts of Southern Idaho. March 27, 2020 — Advocates for the West filed our reply brief in this case, as well as our opposition to the Air Force’s…