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.

Highway 12 Followup Case

Case: Nez Perce Tribe and Idaho Rivers United v. U.S. Forest Service

January 27, 2017 — Advocates for the West finalized a settlement agreement with the U.S. Forest Service restricting mega-load shipments on U.S. Highway 12 to protect the Lochsa and Middle Fork Clearwater Wild and Scenic Rivers. The settlement resolves a 2013 federal court lawsuit that we filed for Idaho Rivers United, along with the Nez Perce Tribe….

Oregon Spotted Frog on Antelope Allotment

Case: Concerned Friends of the Winema, Klamath-Siskiyou Wildlands Center, Western Watersheds Project, Oregon Wild, and Center for Biological Diversity v. U.S. Forest Service

January 24, 2017 — In an exciting wrap-up to this important case, District Judge Aiken adopted in-full Judge Clarke’s ruling, which means that the biological opinion in question is vacated and the Forest Service must reinitiate consultation over the spotted frog. The agency will also be unable to issue new permits unless they demonstrate to…

Oregon Spotted Frog Habitat Protection

Case: Intent to Sue for Violation of the Endangered Species Act

October 28, 2016 – Advocates for the West reached a settlement agreement with the Bureau of Reclamation and several irrigation districts to protect the Upper Deschutes River. The agreement authorizes a temporary boost in water flows to reduce harm to the Oregon spotted frog and its habitat. February 9, 2016 – Advocates for the West filed a preliminary injunction…

Golden Hand Mining Exploration

Case: Idaho Conservation League, the Wilderness Society, EarthWorks, Friends of the Clearwater, Wilderness Watch v. Lannom, Keith B., and U.S. Forest Service

August 2, 2016 — the U.S. District Court ruled in our favor, finding that a Forest Service decision approving a mining company’s plan to deploy bulldozers, dump trucks and drilling rigs miles inside the Frank Church-River of No Return Wilderness violates the Wilderness Act, the National Forest Management Act and the National Environmental Policy Act….

CuMo Mining Exploration Project

Case: Idaho Conservation League, Idaho Rivers United, and Golden Eagle Audubon Society v. U.S. Forest Service

July 11th, 2016 — Advocates for the West secured a federal court victory for the second time in our ongoing battle to keep Canadian mining company “American CuMo” from developing in the Boise River watershed what it claims could be the largest open pit molybdenum mine in the world. This time it was a rare…

Steens Mountain Wind Development

Case: Oregon Natural Desert Association and Audubon Society of Portland v. Ken Salazar and Bureau of Land Management

On May 26, 2016 — Oregon Natural Desert Association won a 9th circuit court ruling that an environmental review by the BLM failed to adequately address the population of greater sage-grouse during winter at the proposed wind farm facility at Steens Mountain. ONDA filed the appeal with the 9th circuit following our 2013 settlement, after…

Protecting Selway Wild and Scenic Values

Case: Idaho Rivers United & Morgan and Olga Wright v. District Ranger Joe Hudson & United States Forest Service

On March 28, 2016 — The Court issued a decision in our favor. The judge upheld Wild and Scenic River values when he declared that the U.S. Forest Service ignored the Wild and Scenic Rivers Act by approving access to a state logging sale in the Selway River canyon. August 17, 2015 — Advocates for…

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

October 17, 2015 — The Idaho Department of Water Resources has denied a water right application filed by Innovative Mitigation Solutions (IMS). The Big Wood sustains abundant fish and wildlife, and is a prized recreation destination both internationally and locally. The Big Wood, and its aquifers, also supply water to the communities Sun Valley, Ketchum,…

Caribou Habitat Protection Followup Case

Case: Center for Biological Diversity, Defenders of Wildlife, Conservation Northwest Idaho Conservation League, Selkirk Conservation Alliance, and The Lands Council v. Brian Kelly and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service

March 23, 2015 — We received a favorable ruling from Judge Lodge, stating that the US Fish and Wildlife Service did not provide the public with enough time to comment on the agency’s decision to drastically reduce the protected caribou habitat from over 375,000 acres down to a mere 30,010 acres. May 23, 2014 —…

Salmon-Challis Water Diversions

Case: Idaho Conservation League v. U.S. Forest Service and NOAA Fisheries

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…