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.

Removal of Pinyon-Juniper Woodlands

Case: Case 1:22-cv-01891

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. DOI, BLM, Kent Hoffman

January 24, 2023 — Advocates for the West reached a settlement agreement through which the Bureau of Land Management will complete additional environmental analysis and consider a “no leasing” alternative that evaluates cancelling the leases. The agency also agrees to complete a new review under the National Historic Preservation Act, inviting consultation from any Tribe…

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

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

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

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

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

January 3, 2023 — Advocates for the West received affirmation of our June 2022 victory on behalf of Friends of the Clearwater to protect old growth forests on Idaho’s Salmon-Clearwater Divide. The U.S. District Court for the District of Idaho denied the Forest Service’s motion to amend the prior decision ordering the agency to conduct…

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

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…

Suction Dredge Clean Water Act Enforcement

Case: Idaho Conservation League v. Shannon Poe, No. 1:18-cv-353-REB (D. Idaho)

September 28, 2022 — Advocates for the West won another victory in this case when federal Magistrate Judge Raymond Patricco levied a $150,000 fine against California suction dredge miner Shannon Poe, who polluted the South Fork of the Clearwater River and refused to secure a permit as required under the Clean Water Act (CWA). February…