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.

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,…

Sawtooth National Forest Water Diversions
Status: WON
June 17, 2019

Sawtooth National Forest Water Diversions

Case: Idaho Conservation League v. U.S. Forest Service

August 25, 2021 — Advocates for the West secured a victory in the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals to protect threatened Idaho salmon, steelhead, and bull trout from irrigation water diversions in Idaho’s Sawtooth Valley. The Ninth Circuit decision upholds our lower court win that requires the U.S. Forest Service to consult with experts and protect…

Mogollon Rim Cattle Grazing
Status: WON
October 11, 2018

Mogollon Rim Cattle Grazing

Case: Neighbors of the Mogollon Rim, Inc. VS. U.S. Forest Service

October 11, 2018:  Advocates for the West just reached an agreement with the Forest Service to keep the beautiful forested area below the Mogollon Rim in the Tonto National Forest free from livestock grazing for the foreseeable future. The area will remain cattle-free while the agency assesses whether grazing is compatible with the landscape and how it may affect wildlife habitat…

Winter Travel Plan Follow-up Case
Status: FAVORABLY-DISMISSED
July 3, 2018

Winter Travel Plan Follow-up Case

Case: Case 1:17-cv-00376-CWD

On September 9, 2017, Advocates for the West filed suit against three Intermountain national forests for being the only in the nation to rubber stamp winter travel decisions that are more than 20 years old rather than create new winter travel plans that regulate snowmobile use based on current conditions and up-to-date science. Since the prior…

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…