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.

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…

Steens Mountain Wind Development
Status: WON
May 26, 2016

Steens Mountain Wind Development

Case: 3:12-cv-596-MO (D.Oregon)

On behalf of the Oregon Natural Desert Association and the Audubon Society of Portland, Advocates for the West challenged the BLM’s approval of a lengthy transmission line across southeastern Oregon’s Steens Mountain, one of the jewels of the West. The North Steens transmission line would facilitate construction of an industrial-scale wind power project on a private…

Protecting Selway Wild and Scenic Values
Status: WON
March 28, 2016

Protecting Selway Wild and Scenic Values

Case: IRU & Morgan and Olga Wright v. District Ranger Joe Hudson & USFS

On May 19, 2015, Advocates for the West filed a complaint on behalf of Idaho Rivers United against District Ranger Joe Hudson and the United States Forest Service for unlawfully designating forest road 652 on the Nez Perce National Forest as a “public road.” This designation would allow the Idaho Department of Lands to utilize…

Big Wood River Flows
Status: WON
October 7, 2015

Big Wood River Flows

Case: In the Matter of Application for Permits Nos. 37-22682 & 37-22852 in the name of Innovative Mitigation Solutions, LLC

Advocates for the West is working with the Idaho Conservation League (ICL) to protect flows on Idaho’s famous Big Wood River from a private scheme to make money off of unsustainable water use. Innovative Mitigation Solutions (IMS) applied for a water right to divert 154 CFS of water out of the Big Wood and dump…

Caribou Habitat Protection Followup Case
Status: WON
March 23, 2015

Caribou Habitat Protection Followup Case

Case: Case 1:13-cv-00427-EJL

Advocates for the West is representing six conservation groups in a case challenging the US Fish and Wildlife Service’s decision to cut more than 93% of proposed protected critical habitat for the endangered mountain caribou from 375,562 acres (which was the result of our last round of litigation on this issue) to a mere 30,010…

Sonoran Desert National Monument Followup Case
Status: WON
February 26, 2015

Sonoran Desert National Monument Followup Case

Case: 2:13-cv-01028-PGR

This case is a follow-up to one we filed in 2008 that resulted in a settlement agreement forcing BLM to complete a new management plan for the Sonoran Desert National Monument. The Monument Proclamation determined that BLM could only permit livestock grazing in the area if it was compatible with protecting the natural resources on the monument, such as various plant…

Salmon-Challis Water Diversions
Status: SETTLED
January 5, 2015

Salmon-Challis Water Diversions

Case: Idaho Conservation League v. U.S. Forest Service et al., Case No. 1:14-cv-00216-EJL (D.Idaho 2014).

Advocates for the West is pleased to announce we settled this case against the Forest Service and NOAA Fisheries for failing to complete Endangered Species Act consultations for over 100 water diversions on streams in the Salmon-Challis National Forest in Idaho’s Upper Salmon River basin.  The Salmon-Challis National Forest is home to important populations of threatened…