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.

Spring Valley Wind Energy Facility
Status: SETTLED

Spring Valley Wind Energy Facility

Case: Western Watersheds Project & Center for Biological Diversity v. BLM; 3:11-CV-53 (DCt); 11-15799 (9th Cir.)

This case challenged a poorly-sited wind facility consisting of 75 wind turbines (each over 400 feet tall) as well as over 25 miles of new roads on BLM public land in Spring Valley, Nevada (east of Ely). The facility near Great Basin National Park would be only 4 miles from a regionally-significant bat roost known…

Mt. Wilson pinyon-juniper logging
Status: SETTLED

Mt. Wilson pinyon-juniper logging

Case: American Lands Alliance, WWP et al v. Kolkman, No. N-02-cv-182 (D. Nevada)

This case challenged BLM’s proposal to clearcut and mulch some 50 square miles of old growth pinyon-juniper forest around the Mt. Wilson area of central Nevada. BLM claimed that the logging was needed to reduce wildfire risks in the “urban/wildland interface,” even though there is no urban area in this remote part of Nevada — and…

Protecting Idaho’s Bighorn Sheep
Status: WON

Protecting Idaho’s Bighorn Sheep

Case: IWGA et al V. Tom Vilsack et al & TWS et al

On March 17th, 2014, Advocates for the West’s Senior Attorney Laurie Rule appeared in court as an intervenor on behalf of the US Forest Service. We backed the agency’s decision to restrict domestic sheep grazing on much of the Payette National Forest due to the likelihood of domestic and bighorn interaction. Such interactions lead to bighorn contracting a fatal disease from…

Lemhi endangered fish
Status: SETTLED

Lemhi endangered fish

Case: WWP v. Wood et al., No. 09-cv-368 (D. Idaho)

This action challenges Forest Service and BLM violations of the Endangered Species Act in failing to carry out consulations with US Fish and Wildlife Service and NOAA Fisheries over impacts of livestock grazing, irrigation diversions, and other management actions upon salmon, steelhead and bull trout in the Lemhi River watershed of central Idaho. The Lemhi River…

Ruby Pipeline
Status: SETTLED

Ruby Pipeline

Case: No filing

The Ruby pipeline is a project of El Paso Pipeline Corp., the country’s largest pipeline company, which will cover 650 miles from southwestern Wyoming to southern Oregon. The Ruby pipeline will carry 1.5 billion cubic feet of natural gas per day, providing a coal substitute for utilities on the West Coast. But the Ruby pipeline…

Protecting Idaho Wild and Scenic Rivers
Status: WON

Protecting Idaho Wild and Scenic Rivers

Case: Case 3:16-cv-00102-CWD

Advocates for the West filed suit in Idaho federal court to protect the Selway and Middle Fork Clearwater Wild and Scenic Rivers from massive clear-cutting approved by the Forest Service on the Nez Perce-Clearwater National Forest. The suit challenges the Forest Service’s approval of the Johnson Bar Fire Salvage Project, which would log 34 million…

Wildlife Services in Idaho
Status: FAVORABLY-DISMISSED

Wildlife Services in Idaho

Case: Wildlife Services in Idaho

USDA APHIS WILDLIFE SERVICES (“Wildlife Services”) spends millions of dollars and thousands of person-hours to kill thousands of wolves, coyotes, foxes, beavers, cougars, birds, and other wildlife species across Idaho each year, using aerial and ground shooting, poisons, traps, explosives, and other methods. Yet, Wildlife Services has never prepared an Environmental Impact Statement for its…