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.

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…

Suction Dredge Clean Water Act Enforcement

Case: Idaho Conservation League v. Shannon Poe

May 30, 2023 — Advocates for the West filed our answering brief in Poe’s appeal of our victory, urging the Court to affirm the prior ruling that Poe violated the Clean Water Act when he mined for gold and discharged the waste to the South Fork of the Clearwater River without a required permit. September…

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…

Wildlife Services Wolf-Killing in Idaho

Case: Western Watersheds Project, Center for Biological Diversity, Friends of the Clearwater, WildEarth Guardians, and Predator Defense

March 11, 2020 — Advocates for the West and our allies secured a strong victory in this case in an agreement that sets strict limits on how and where a federal agency can kill wolves in Idaho, bans the use of M-44 “cyanide bombs” statewide, and prohibits the use of snares to kill wolves on…

Devil’s Corral Water Rights

Case: In the Matter of Application for Permit

January 23, 2020 — Facing mounting pressure in our water right protest, the development company Devil’s Corral backed down and asked to withdraw its old 1980s water right application. On January 23, 2020, the Idaho Department of Water Resources dismissed the application, ending Devil’s Corral’s attempts to circumvent Idaho water law and avoid public involvement. Devils…

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….