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.

US Forest Service Travel Management Plans Exclude Snowmobiles
Status: WON
March 29, 2013

US Forest Service Travel Management Plans Exclude Snowmobiles

Case: US Forest Service travel management plans exclude snowmobiles

On behalf of Winter Wildlands Alliance, Advocates for the West brought a case against the U.S. Forest Service for not managing and regulating snowmobiles as it does other off-road vehicles. In 2005, the Forest Service issued a new rule that requires every national forest to designate what trails and areas are open to off-road vehicle use and…

Grazing Allotment EA Challenges in ID, WY, UT
Status: WON
February 14, 2013

Grazing Allotment EA Challenges in ID, WY, UT

Case: Case No. 10-612-REB

On February 14, 2013, U.S. Magistrate Judge Ron Bush ruled in our favor on all 4 challenged decisions allowing the U.S. Forest Service to forgo conducting environmental analysis on 43 grazing allotments in Idaho, Wyoming and Utah. In 2010, Region 4 of the Forest Service renewed grazing permits for hundreds of allotments without conducting any…

Highway 12 Mega-Loads
Status: WON
February 7, 2013

Highway 12 Mega-Loads

Case: Idaho Rivers United v. U.S. Forest Service

This case challenges the U.S. Forest Service’s violation of its duties to preserve and protect the Lochsa and Clearwater Wild and Scenic River corridor and the Clearwater National Forest from the oil industry’s “mega-loads” of industrial equipment. The Idaho Transportation Department has given Exxon Mobil permits to haul over 200 massive loads of industrial equipment bound for the Alberta…

Idaho Rivers United v. United States Forest Service
Status: WON
February 7, 2013

Idaho Rivers United v. United States Forest Service

Case: Idaho Rivers United v. U.S. Forest Service,

This case challenges the U.S. Forest Service’s violation of its duties to preserve and protect the Lochsa and Clearwater Wild and Scenic River corridor and the Clearwater National Forest from the oil industry’s “mega-loads” of industrial equipment. The Idaho Transportation Department has given Exxon Mobil permits to haul over 200 massive loads of industrial equipment bound for the Alberta…

CuMo Mine
Status: WON
August 29, 2012

CuMo Mine

Case: Idaho Conservation League et al v. Boise National Forest

Advocates for the West represented Idaho Conservation League, Idaho Rivers United, and Golden Eagle Audubon Society in this successful challenge to the Forest Service approval of Canadian mining company Mosquito Gold’s plan to explore for copper and molybdenum in the headwaters of Grimes Creek on nearly 3000 acres of Boise National Forest land. The mountainous project…

Bighorn Sheep — Hells Canyon and Salmon River
Status: WON
June 14, 2012

Bighorn Sheep — Hells Canyon and Salmon River

Case: WWP v. US Forest Service, 07-cv-151-BLW (D. Idaho).

We brought this case in March 2007 to prevent the Forest Service from authorizing domestic sheep grazing in allotments on Payette and Nez Perce National Forests that pose a “high risk” of spreading diseases that kill Rocky Mountain bighorn sheep, which are native to the Hells Canyon and Salmon River region of central Idaho.  Our…

Forest Service grazing categorical exclusions
Status: WON
March 30, 2012

Forest Service grazing categorical exclusions

Case: WWP v. U.S. Forest Service, case no. 08-1460-PJH

We teamed up with heavy-weight San Francisco law firm Keker & Van Nest in this litigation challenging hundreds of Forest Service grazing permit renewals on dozens of National Forests across the West. These permit renewals were done without any NEPA analysis, instead using “categorical exclusions” under an appropriations “rider” passed by Congress several years ago,…

Fossil Creek
Status: WON
January 23, 2012

Fossil Creek

Case: Center for Biological Diversity v. Provencio & USFS, 10-cv-330 (D.Az)

Challenge to Forest Service grazing management in Fossil Creek Range allotment of the Coconino National Forest in central Arizona, which is harming habitat for the threatened Chiricahua leopard frog, Yuma clapper rail, Southwestern willow flycatcher and other imperiled species. The grazing also impairs wilderness values of the Fossil Springs and Mazatzal Wilderness Areas by causing…

Atlanta Gold
Status: WON
January 9, 2012

Atlanta Gold

Case: 1:11-cv-00161-MHW

After a 2005 lawsuit by Advocates for the West on behalf of Idaho Conservation League, Atlanta Gold agreed to get a permit under the Clean Water Act for pollution discharging from a mine adit near Atlanta, Idaho into Montezuma Creek, a tributary of the Middle Fork Boise River. Atlanta Gold got its permit, but the pollution levels…

Atlanta Mine
Status: WON
January 9, 2012

Atlanta Mine

Case: Snake River Basin Adjudication subcases 63-2446 et seq.

Atlanta, Idaho is a small town that once saw extensive mining operations; but all commercial mining stopped by 1963 when the ore played out.  Recently, a mining company has proposed to develop a large, cyanide heap-leach mine at the Atlanta site, which is located on the Middle Fork of the Boise River — the headwaters…