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.

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…

Idaho Water Quality: Fish Consumption Rate

Case: Notice of Intent to Sue EPA Under Clean Water Act for Failing to Prepare and Promulgate Toxics Standards in Idaho

April 30, 2013 — Advocates for the West sent EPA a Notice of Intent to Sue for failing to promptly revise these important water quality standards. We were able to craft a settlement agreement which gives IDEQ and other stakeholders time to complete fish consumption studies, but which sets a deadline to revise the standards…

Great Basin sage-grouse

Case: Western Watersheds Project v. Dirk Kempthorne, Department of the Interior, and Bureau of Land Management

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

Case: Idaho Conservation League, and Nez Perce Tribe v. U.S. Forest Service, NOAA Fisheries, and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Services

June 23rd, 2014 — The U.S. Forest Service issued a letter to Midas Gold revoking its earlier approval of the company’s exploration plans, known as the Golden Meadows Exploration Project. The Forest Service revoked its earlier approval of the project and ordered Midas Gold to halt all work at the site, and that if Midas…

Dynamis Garbage Gasifier

Case: Idaho Conservation League v. Board of Ada County Commissioners

February 15, 2013 — Dynamis and Ada County Commissioners announced that they would be terminating their contract agreement and Dynamis would walk away from the lease agreement without pursuing legal action. Accordingly, we dismissed our petition for judicial review. November 19, 2012 — Advocates for the West filed a petition for judicial review challenging the…

Grazing Challenges on OR Fremont-Winema National Forests

Case: Oregon Natural Desert Association and Klamath Siskiyou Wildlands Center v. David Sabo and U.S. Forest Service

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

Case: Winter Wildlands Alliance v. U.S. Forest Service

March 29, 2013 — Senior Attorney Laurie Rule received word that U.S. Magistrate Judge Ronald E. Bush had ruled in our favor. In his Court Decision, Judge Bush specifically calls out Executive Order 11644, stating that the Order – “requires an agency to promulgate regulations that provide for designation of areas of use and non-use…

Grazing Allotment EA Challenges in ID, WY, UT

Case: Western Watersheds Project, Center for Biological Diversity, Grand Canyon Trust and Utah Environmental Congress v. U.S. Forest Service

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…