We WIN for the WEST

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.

Suction Dredge Clean Water Act Enforcement

Case: Idaho Conservation League v. Shannon Poe

January 11, 2024 — The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals denied professional gold miner Shannon Poe’s request to rehear our Clean Water Act enforcement case against him. November 20, 2023 — The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals unanimously affirmed the ruling that Poe violated the federal Clean Water Act when he dumped suction dredge mining…

Northern Corridor Highway through Red Cliffs National Conservation Area

Case: Conserve Southwest Utah, Conservation Lands Foundation, Center for Biological Diversity, Defenders of Wildlife, Southern Utah Wilderness Alliance, The Wilderness Society, and WildEarth Guardians v. U.S. Department of the Interior and Bureau of Land Management

November 16, 2023 — The U.S. District Court issued an opinion and granted in part a motion by federal defendants, remanding the 2021 approval of the Northern Corridor Highway right-of-way through Red Cliffs National Conservation Area in southwestern Utah. The court ruling paves the way for the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) and U.S. Fish…

Antelope Allotment Grazing Followup

Case: Concerned Friends of the Winema, Klamath-Siskiyou Wildlands Center, Western Watersheds Project, Oregon Wild, and Central Oregon Bitterbrush Broads of the Great Old Broads for Wilderness v. Douglas C. McKay, Barry L. Imler, U.S. Forest Service, Laurie Sada, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service

October 26, 2023 — Advocates for the West and our partners won a strong victory to protect Oregon spotted frogs on Jack Creek in the Fremont-Winema National Forest. The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) fell short of its obligations under the Endangered Species Act when issuing a Biological Opinion…

Perpetua Resources (formerly Midas Gold) Clean Water Act Violations

Case: Nez Perce Tribe v. Perpetua Resources, Corp., et al.

October 2, 2023 — The Court approved settlement of the Stibnite Clean Water Act lawsuit with Nez Perce Tribe recovering $4 million for water quality improvement in the South Fork Salmon River and $1 million in attorney fees and litigation costs. August 8, 2023 — Mining company Perpetua Resources (formerly Midas Gold) will pay the…

Sonoran Desert National Monument Followup Case

Case: Western Watersheds Project and Grand Canyon Chapter of the Sierra Club v. U.S. Bureau of Land Management

August 9, 2023 — Advocates for the West won our lawsuit, halting livestock grazing authorizations in the Sonoran Desert National Monument. For the second time, a judge determined that the Bureau of Land Management relied on faulty information to justify livestock grazing on fragile desert landscapes within the Monument. March 22, 2023 — Advocates for…

Protecting Bighorn Sheep in the Okanogan-Wenatchee National Forest

Case: WildEarth Guardians and Western Watersheds Project v. Kristin Bail and U.S. Forest Service

June 12, 2023 — Advocates for the West filed a settlement agreement in federal court requires the U.S. Forest Service to take action to protect nearly half of the wild bighorn sheep in Washington state from disease outbreaks originating from domestic sheep. Under the settlement, the Forest Service will complete a long-overdue environmental review in…

Caldwell Canyon Phosphate Mine

Case: Center for Biological Diversity, Western Watersheds Project, and WildEarth Guardians v. U.S. Bureau of Land Management, Mary D'Aversa, and U.S. Department of the Interior

June 2, 2023 — Advocates for the West won another major victory when a federal judge fully vacated a set of approvals by the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) authorizing development of the Caldwell Canyon phosphate mine. The Court said that any economic burdens caused by its decision to vacate the BLM’s prior approvals for…

Mogollon Rim Followup Case

Case: Neighbors of the Mogollon Rim, Inc. v. U.S. Forest Service and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service

May 5, 2023 — Advocates for the West won a significant victory in defense of this pristine corner of Arizona’s Tonto National Forest just below the scenic Mogollon Rim. The 9th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that the Forest Service made “serious errors” in violation of the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) in approving a…

Removal of Pinyon-Juniper Woodlands

Case: Defenders of Wildlife and Southern Utah Wilderness Alliance v. U.S. Department of the Interior and Bureau of Land Management

April 12, 2023 — Advocates for the West reached a court-approved settlement agreement, requiring the Bureau of Land Management to abandon the Pinyon-Juniper Categorical Exclusion Rule and issue a new decision by September 30, 2024. June 30, 2022 — Advocates for the West filed a lawsuit challenging the Bureau of Land Management over a Trump-era…

Oil and Gas Lease Sales Near Bears Ears National Monument

Case: Friends of Cedar Mesa v. U.S. Department of Interior, Bureau of Land Management, and Kent Hoffman

May 3, 2024 — The Bureau of Lands Management (BLM) issued a decision cancelling 25 parcels, totaling more than 40,296 acres, from oil and gas leasing in the Lands Between—a major win for this tremendously significant cultural landscape and for descendant communities across the region. The decision follows Advocates for the West’s 2023 settlement requiring BLM…