We WIN for the WEST

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.

Sage Hen Project Logging

Case: Idaho Conservation League v. U.S. Forest Service and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service

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: Western Slope Conservation Center, The Wilderness Society, and Wilderness Workshop v. U.S. Bureau of Land Management, David Bernhardt, and Jamie E. Connell

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: Western Watersheds Project, Center for Biological Diversity, and Sierra Club v. Anthony (Scott) Feldhausen, BLM Arizona State Director, and Bureau of Land Management

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: Western Watersheds Project, WildEarth Guardians, and Predator Defense v. USDA Aphis, USDA Aphis Wildlife Services, U.S. Forest Service, and Bureau of Land Management

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: Friends of the Clearwater v. Cheryl F. Probert and U.S. Forest Service

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: Nez Perce Tribe v. Oregon Department of Environmental Quality, 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…

Sheep Experiment Station Followup Case

Case: Western Watersheds Project, WildEarth Guardians, and Center for Biological Diversity v. U.S. Sheep Experiment Station, and USDA Agricultural Research Service

April 16, 2021 — A federal judge 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…

Air Force Urban Warfare Training

Case: Anne Hausrath, John Wheaton, Joanie Fauci, Meg Fereday, Roger Rosentretter, Kathryn Railsback, Dale Reynolds, and Great Old Broads for Wilderness v. United States Department of the Airforce

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

Case: Northwest Environmental Defense Center, WildEarth Guardians, and Native Fish Society v. U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and National Marine Fisheries Service

September 1, 2021 – U.S. District Judge Marco Hernandez issued a final opinion and order directing the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and National Marine Fisheries Service to immediately undertake new measures at dams in the Willamette basin to prevent the extinction of threatened Upper Willamette River wild spring Chinook salmon and winter steelhead. In the…

Kilgore Mine Exploration in Centennial Mountains

Case: Idaho Conservation League and Greater Yellowstone Coalition v. U.S. Forest Service

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…