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.

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…

Idaho Water Quality: Fish Consumption Rate
Status: SETTLED
December 18, 2014

Idaho Water Quality: Fish Consumption Rate

Case: Notice of Intent to Sue

Advocates for the West secured a settlement for the Idaho Conservation League in this Clean Water Act action against EPA. The settlement ensures that inadequate water quality standards in Idaho will be revised to better protect people from exposure to dangerous toxins.In 2006, the Idaho Department of Environmental Quality (IDEQ) adopted a new “fish consumption rate”, which estimated…

Great Basin sage-grouse
Status: WON
September 29, 2014

Great Basin sage-grouse

Case: WWP v. Kempthorne, No. 08-cv-435-BLW (D. Idaho)

This large case challenges several hundred grazing permits, oil and gas leases, and other land management decisions approved by BLM during the last years of the Bush Administration, which individually and together harm the Great Basin core population of greater sage-grouse in Idaho and Nevada. BLM violated basic federal environmental laws — including the National Environmental Policy…

Midas Gold Mining Exploration
Status: WON
June 23, 2014

Midas Gold Mining Exploration

Case: ICL v. USFS/NOAA/FWS

Advocates for the West Staff Attorney Bryan Hurlbutt represents the Idaho Conservation League (ICL) in this case with the Nez Perce Tribe, challenging the Forest Service’s, NOAA’s, and FWS’s approval of Midas Gold’s “Golden Meadows” mining exploration project. Midas Gold plans to construct drill pads and drill 178 holes to explore for gold on the Payette…

Dynamis Garbage Gasifier
Status: FAVORABLY-DISMISSED
February 15, 2014

Dynamis Garbage Gasifier

Case: CVOC1221165

On November 19, 2012, Advocates for the West filed a petition for judicial review challenging the Ada County Commissioners creation of an industrial park at the County’s Hidden Hollow Landfill and approval of a lease agreement leasing nearly 10 acres at the landfill to Dynamis Energy, LLC. The petition, which was filed in Idaho state court…

Grazing Challenges on OR Fremont-Winema National Forests
Status: WON
May 1, 2013

Grazing Challenges on OR Fremont-Winema National Forests

Case: Case No. 10-CV-1212-CL

This case challenges the Forest Service’s authorization of grazing on the Antelope Cattle and Horse allotment of Oregon’s Fremont-Winema National Forests thereby violating the National Environmental Policy Act (“NEPA”) and the National Forest Management Act (“NFMA”). A unique, large complex of fens and wetlands occurs on the allotment in the midst of surrounding dry forests….