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.
Willamette River Salmon and Steelhead
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: 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…
Wildlife Services Wolf-Killing in Idaho
Case: Case #1:16-cv-218
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 No. 36-7999 (Devils Corral LLC)
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….
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….
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
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
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
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
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…