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.

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….

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,…