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.

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

August 31, 2018 – Advocates for the West filed our remedies brief in this case, seeking interim injunctive relief and asking the Court to order Wildlife Services to prepare a legally adequate Environmental Impact Statement and Record of Decision within 3 years of the remedies order.   June 22, 2018 – Advocates for the West won…

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…

South Beaverhead Bighorn Sheep
Status: WON
November 20, 2017

South Beaverhead Bighorn Sheep

Case: Western Watersheds Project and WildEarth Guardians vs. U.S. Forest Service, Case No. 1:17-cv-434

October 17, 2017 – Advocates for the West is seeking an emergency injunction to halt authorization of domestic sheep grazing that threatens to extirpate a small, sensitive population of Rocky Mountain bighorn sheep in the South Beaverhead Mountains of Idaho. We filed a motion requesting a temporary restraining order to halt plans by the USDA Sheep Experiment Station…

Point Reyes National Seashore
Status: WON
July 12, 2017

Point Reyes National Seashore

Case: RRI, CBD & WWP vs. National Park Service & Cicely Muldoon

February 10, 2016 – Advocates for the West teamed up with the San Francisco-based law firm Keker & Van Nest to file a lawsuit in federal court seeking to require the National Park Service to update its General Management Plan and prepare an Environmental Impact Statement prior to adopting a proposed ranching plan to issue…

Grazing on Idaho’s East Fork of the Salmon
Status: SETTLED
July 6, 2017

Grazing on Idaho’s East Fork of the Salmon

Case: Western Watersheds Project v. U.S. Forest Service

  On July 7, 2017, we entered into a settlement agreement with the Forest Service to close the allotments to grazing during 2017 and 2018 – and no livestock will be allowed to return until stream health standards for trout and salmon are fully met. On October 12, 2016, we filed suit challenging the Forest Service’s…

Highway 12 Followup Case
Status: WON
January 27, 2017

Highway 12 Followup Case

Case: 3:13-cv-00348-BLW

On January 27, 2017 Advocates for the West finalized a settlement agreement with the U.S. Forest Service restricting mega-load shipments on U.S. Highway 12 to protect the Lochsa and Middle Fork Clearwater Wild and Scenic Rivers. The settlement resolves a 2013 federal court lawsuit that we filed for Idaho Rivers United, along with the Nez Perce Tribe….

Oregon Spotted Frog on Antelope Allotment
Status: WON
January 24, 2017

Oregon Spotted Frog on Antelope Allotment

Case: Concerned Friends of the Winema et al vs. US Forest Service

In May 2014, in a followup case to our 2010 victory protecting the Oregon spotted frog and unique sensitive plants, Advocates for the West filed suit against the US Forest Service.  We challenged livestock grazing activities on the Antelope Allotment of the Fremont-Winema National Forest that directly trample and degrade frog habitat and sensitive plants.  This allotment…

Oregon Spotted Frog Habitat Protection
Status: SETTLED
October 28, 2016

Oregon Spotted Frog Habitat Protection

Case: Oregon Spotted Frog Habitat Protection

On July 21, 2015, Advocates for the West’s Senior Attorney Laurie Rule and Staff Attorney Lizzy Zultoski submitted a notice of intent to sue the Bureau of Reclamation on behalf of the Center for Biological Diversity. The notice letter alleges that the agency’s operation and maintenance of the Wickiup and Crane Prairie dams on the Deschutes River in Central Oregon…

Golden Hand Mining Exploration
Status: WON
August 2, 2016

Golden Hand Mining Exploration

Case: Idaho Conservation League et al vs. Lannom, Keith B., Payette National Forest Service Supervisor, and U.S. Forest Service

Advocates for the West is challenging a mining company’s plan to deploy bulldozers, dump trucks, and drill rigs inside the Frank Church-River of No Return Wilderness. The Forest Service released a Draft Record of Decision in December 2014 approving a proposal by American Independence Mines and Minerals (AIMMCO) to perform the industrial-scale mining claim validation work…

CuMo Mining Exploration Project
Status: WON
July 11, 2016

CuMo Mining Exploration Project

Case: Idaho Conservation League et al VS U.S. Forest Service

Advocates for the West is continuing to fight the CuMo Mining Exploration Project in the Boise River watershed. In 2011, we successfully challenged the Forest Service’s approval of CuMo’s intensive plan to build roads, drill pads, and waste pits and to conduct 24/7 drilling in the headwaters of Grimes Creek, a tributary to Mores Creek…