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.

Atlanta Gold Followup Case
Status: WON

Atlanta Gold Followup Case

Case: Case No. 1:11-cv-161-MHW

December 22, 2016 – Advocates for the West filed our reply brief in this case, asking the Court to find Atlanta Gold in contempt of court for failing to meet expectations set forth in the 2012 court order. November 3, 2016 – Advocates for the West filed suit once again against the Atlanta Gold Corporation,…

Point Reyes National Seashore
Status: WON

Point Reyes National Seashore

Case: RRI, CBD & WWP vs. National Park Service & Cicely Muldoon

February 10, 2016 – Advocates for the West teamed up with the San Francisco-based law firm Keker & Van Nest to file a lawsuit in federal court seeking to require the National Park Service to update its General Management Plan and prepare an Environmental Impact Statement prior to adopting a proposed ranching plan to issue…

Grazing on Idaho’s East Fork of the Salmon
Status: SETTLED

Grazing on Idaho’s East Fork of the Salmon

Case: Western Watersheds Project v. U.S. Forest Service

  On July 7, 2017, we entered into a settlement agreement with the Forest Service to close the allotments to grazing during 2017 and 2018 – and no livestock will be allowed to return until stream health standards for trout and salmon are fully met. On October 12, 2016, we filed suit challenging the Forest Service’s…

Highway 12 Followup Case
Status: WON

Highway 12 Followup Case

Case: 3:13-cv-00348-BLW

In February of 2013, US Chief District Judge Winmill ruled in our favor on a case in which we represented Idaho Rivers United against the US Forest Service for their refusal to keep megaloads off Highway 12. The ruling states that, contrary to the USFS’s claims, they do in fact have authority to limit and…

Oregon Spotted Frog on Antelope Allotment
Status: WON

Oregon Spotted Frog on Antelope Allotment

Case: Concerned Friends of the Winema et al vs. US Forest Service

In May 2014, in a followup case to our 2010 victory protecting the Oregon spotted frog and unique sensitive plants, Advocates for the West filed suit against the US Forest Service.  We challenged livestock grazing activities on the Antelope Allotment of the Fremont-Winema National Forest that directly trample and degrade frog habitat and sensitive plants.  This allotment…

Oregon Spotted Frog Habitat Protection
Status: SETTLED

Oregon Spotted Frog Habitat Protection

Case: Oregon Spotted Frog Habitat Protection

On July 21, 2015, Advocates for the West’s Senior Attorney Laurie Rule and Staff Attorney Lizzy Zultoski submitted a notice of intent to sue the Bureau of Reclamation on behalf of the Center for Biological Diversity. The notice letter alleges that the agency’s operation and maintenance of the Wickiup and Crane Prairie dams on the Deschutes River in Central Oregon…

Golden Hand Mining Exploration
Status: WON

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…

CuMo Mining Exploration Project
Status: WON

CuMo Mining Exploration Project

Case: NA

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…

Steens Mountain Wind Development
Status: WON

Steens Mountain Wind Development

Case: 3:12-cv-596-MO (D.Oregon)

On behalf of the Oregon Natural Desert Association and the Audubon Society of Portland, Advocates for the West challenged the BLM’s approval of a lengthy transmission line across southeastern Oregon’s Steens Mountain, one of the jewels of the West. The North Steens transmission line would facilitate construction of an industrial-scale wind power project on a private…

Protecting Selway Wild and Scenic Values
Status: WON

Protecting Selway Wild and Scenic Values

Case: IRU & Morgan and Olga Wright v. District Ranger Joe Hudson & USFS

On May 19, 2015, Advocates for the West filed a complaint on behalf of Idaho Rivers United against District Ranger Joe Hudson and the United States Forest Service for unlawfully designating forest road 652 on the Nez Perce National Forest as a “public road.” This designation would allow the Idaho Department of Lands to utilize…