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.

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…

Willamette River Salmon and Steelhead
Status: WON
August 17, 2020

Willamette River Salmon and Steelhead

Case: 3:18-cv-00437-JR

December 18, 2020 – Advocates for the West filed our reply brief and two expert declarations in the continued remedial phase of this case. With the Army Corps of Engineers’ long history neglecting its duties under the Endangered Species Act, we argue that the Court should defer to outside fisheries experts who prioritize the needs of…

Wildlife Services Wolf-Killing in Idaho
Status: WON
March 11, 2020

Wildlife Services Wolf-Killing in Idaho

Case: Case #1:16-cv-218

March 11, 2020 — Advocates for the West and our allies secured a strong victory in this case in an agreement that sets strict limits on how and where a federal agency can kill wolves in Idaho, bans the use of M-44 “cyanide bombs” statewide, and prohibits the use of snares to kill wolves on…

Oil & Gas Leases in Sage-Grouse Habitat
Status: WON
February 27, 2020

Oil & Gas Leases in Sage-Grouse Habitat

Case: Western Watersheds Project and Center for Biological Diversity V. Ryan K. Zinke, David Bernhardt; and BLM

December 16, 2020 – Advocates for the West filed a brief defending the Phase One victory last February, which vacated oil and gas leases in sage-grouse habitats. February 27, 2020 – Advocates for the West won a significant victory when the court overturned a Trump administration policy which curtailed public participation in oil and gas leasing…

Devil’s Corral Water Rights
Status: FAVORABLY-DISMISSED
January 23, 2020

Devil’s Corral Water Rights

Case: In the Matter of Application for Permit No. 36-7999 (Devils Corral LLC)

January 23, 2020 – Facing mounting pressure in our water right protest, the development company Devil’s Corral backed down and asked to withdraw its old 1980s water right application. On January 23, 2020, the Idaho Department of Water Resources dismissed the application, ending Devil’s Corral’s attempts to circumvent Idaho water law and avoid public involvement….

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

May 19, 2020 — EPA released its TMDL to control heat pollution in the Columbia and Snake rivers. EPA’s plan is further evidence that removing the four Lower Snake River dams is necessary to restore salmon and orcas. March 30, 2020 – The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals denied the EPA’s petition to rehear this case….

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

Kilgore Mine Exploration in Centennial Mountains

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

May 4, 2020 — The U.S. District Court in Idaho revoked the Forest Service’s approval of the Kilgore Project and stopped Otis Gold Corp. (now Excellon Resources Inc.) from moving forward with its exploration project. This important decision follows Judge Winmill’s December 2019 ruling that the Forest Service failed to consider Otis’s underground drilling as a…

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

Sage-Grouse RMP Challenge

Case: No. 1:16-cv-83

February 11, 2021 – U.S. District Judge Lynn Winmill ruled strongly in our favor on this case, overturning a Trump Administration decision to strip protections from 10 million acres, mostly in Nevada and Idaho, to allow mining in critical habitat for greater sage-grouse. The court upheld our claim that the BLM failed to provide a…

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,…