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.

Salmon and Steelhead Die-Offs in Columbia and Snake Rivers
Status: WON
December 20, 2019

Salmon and Steelhead Die-Offs in Columbia and Snake Rivers

Case: Columbia Riverkeeper v. Scott Pruitt, Administrator of EPA

August 15, 2016 –  In response to rising water temperatures and inaction by federal agencies, Advocates for the West filed a notice of intent to sue the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, asking the EPA to take action and prevent massive, heat-driven fish kills. In 2015 scientists recorded the warmest year on record, and hot water…

Kilgore Mine Exploration in Centennial Mountains
Status: WON
December 18, 2019

Kilgore Mine Exploration in Centennial Mountains

Case: Case 1:18-cv-00504-CWD

On July 2, 2018, Advocates for the West filed objections to the Forest Service’s proposed approval of the Kilgore Exploration Project in the Centennial Mountains in Eastern Idaho. If approved, this extensive five-year exploration project would disrupt grizzly bears and other wildlife that depend on this critical wildlife corridor, and could pave the way for…

Sage-Grouse RMP Challenge
Status: WON
October 16, 2019

Sage-Grouse RMP Challenge

Case: No. 1:16-cv-83

February 25, 2016 – Advocates for the West filed a new lawsuit in Idaho federal court seeking to increase protections for greater sage-grouse across more than 70 million acres of federal lands in 10 western states. The case argues that new land use plans adopted by the Forest Service and BLM fail to address climate change and…

Atlanta Gold Followup Case
Status: WON
September 19, 2019

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,…

Sawtooth National Forest Water Diversions
Status: WON
June 17, 2019

Sawtooth National Forest Water Diversions

Case: Idaho Conservation League v. U.S. Forest Service

June 17, 2019 – Court order Forest Service to analyze water use at the 20 diversions and determining how to mitigate negative impacts on fish. March 13, 2017 – Advocates for the West sent the Forest Service a notice of intent to sue for violating the Endangered Species Act by authorizing 23 existing irrigation diversions and ditches in…

Wildlife Services Wolf-Killing in Idaho
Status: WON
April 23, 2019

Wildlife Services Wolf-Killing in Idaho

Case: Case #1:16-cv-218

June 1, 2016:  Advocates for the West filed a lawsuit in federal court challenging USDA-Wildlife Services’ killing of gray wolves in Idaho. The agency killed at least 72 wolves in Idaho in 2015, using methods including foothold traps, neck snares and aerial gunning from helicopters. The agency has used aerial gunning in central Idaho’s “Lolo zone” for…

Mogollon Rim Cattle Grazing
Status: WON
October 11, 2018

Mogollon Rim Cattle Grazing

Case: Neighbors of the Mogollon Rim, Inc. VS. U.S. Forest Service

October 11, 2018:  Advocates for the West just reached an agreement with the Forest Service to keep the beautiful forested area below the Mogollon Rim in the Tonto National Forest free from livestock grazing for the foreseeable future. The area will remain cattle-free while the agency assesses whether grazing is compatible with the landscape and how it may affect wildlife habitat…

Winter Travel Plan Follow-up Case
Status: FAVORABLY-DISMISSED
July 3, 2018

Winter Travel Plan Follow-up Case

Case: Case 1:17-cv-00376-CWD

On September 9, 2017, Advocates for the West filed suit against three Intermountain national forests for being the only in the nation to rubber stamp winter travel decisions that are more than 20 years old rather than create new winter travel plans that regulate snowmobile use based on current conditions and up-to-date science. Since the prior…

Idaho Wildlife Services Environmental Assessment
Status: WON
June 22, 2018

Idaho Wildlife Services Environmental Assessment

Case: Western Watersheds Project et al. vs. USDA APHIS Wildlife Services, Case No. 1:17-cv-206

Stopping the Slaughter: Suing Wildlife Services Advocates for the West filed suit on behalf of Western Watersheds Project, the Center for Biological Diversity, WildEarth Guardians, and Predator Defense, over a 2016 decision through which Wildlife Services seeks to expand its slaughter of thousands of ravens and coyotes, as well as wolves, black bears, mountain lions,…

Galena Mine Clean Water Act Enforcement
Status: SETTLED
April 19, 2018

Galena Mine Clean Water Act Enforcement

Case: Notice Of Intent To Sue

Launching Case to Protect Coeur d’Alene Basin From Mine Pollution On May 17, 2017, Advocates for the West sent a notice of intent to sue to U.S. Silver and its parent corporation Americas Silver Corp., who own and operate the Galena Mine in the Silver Valley of North Idaho.  U.S. Silver is violating the Clean Water Act by discharging…