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.

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…

Mega-loads on Highway 12
Status: WON
October 1, 2011

Mega-loads on Highway 12

Case: Laughy et al v. Idaho Transportation Dept.

Advocates for the West is working with concerned individuals and conservation groups to oppose plans by Exxon Mobil, ConocoPhillips, and other Big Oil companies to convert the Wild and Scenic Lochsa and Middle Fork Clearwater rivers corridor along U.S. Highway 12 into a high-and-wide industrial corridor devoted to the transport of massive oil extraction equipment…

Grouse, Meadow, Rock, Trail Creek grazing allotments
Status: WON
January 5, 2011

Grouse, Meadow, Rock, Trail Creek grazing allotments

Case: Western Watersheds Project v. Rosenkrance, No. 09-cv-298 (D. Idaho)

This case challenges BLM decisions allowing grazing and construction of numerous livestock watering troughs and fences in the Grouse Creek, Meadow Creek, Trail Creek, and Rock Creek allotments, located in the Pahsimeroi watershed of central Idaho. This area is prime sage-grouse habitat, and the Pahsimeroi River within the Rock Creek allotment is home to endangered bull…

Pahsimeroi Endangered Fish
Status: WON
October 29, 2010

Pahsimeroi Endangered Fish

Case: Western Watersheds Project v. Rosenkrance, No. 09-cv-532 (D. Idaho)

The Pahsimeroi Valley contains key habitat for three species of Endangered Species Act-listed fish: bull trout, chinook salmon, and steelhead. Yet BLM and Forest Service have not conducted monitoring and habitat improvements as required by their own ESA consultation, which is now very outdated. Their failure to meet fish habitat requirements or to consult over…

Burnt Creek Grazing Allotment
Status: WON
July 1, 2010

Burnt Creek Grazing Allotment

Case: WWP v. Rosenkrance, No. 09-cv-365 (D. Idaho)

The Burnt Creek allotment is located in the Upper Pahsimeroi watershed, which is occupied by bull trout and sage grouse; and extends over much of the Burnt Creek Wilderness Study Area. Our prior litigation in 2002-03 forced BLM to close the allotment to grazing for 4 years, although repeated livestock “trespass” occurred during that time, continuing…

Greenfire Grazing Permit
Status: WON
June 11, 2010

Greenfire Grazing Permit

Case: Valley Sun, LLC and WWP v. BLM

Advocates for the West represents Valley Sun, LLC and Western Watersheds Project on their challenge to a decision by BLM to cancel the Greenfire Preserve’s grazing permit due to reasons related to lack of grazing.  On June 11, 2010, an ALJ granted Valley Sun a stay of BLM’s cancellation decision, citing potential harm identified by expert…

Soldier Meadows
Status: WON
July 2, 2009

Soldier Meadows

Case: Committee for the High Desert, WWP et al. v. Abbey, No. N-02-cv- (D. Nevada)

The 330,00-acre Soldier Meadows allotment lies adjacent to the Black Rock Desert in northern Nevada; and includes parts of the recently-designated Black Rock wilderness and other new wilderness areas. Soldier Meadows also has numerous springs and streams occupied by endangered fish species, including the Lahontan cutthroat trout and desert dace. Yet BLM has allowed livestock grazing to…

Jarbidge Sage-Grouse
Status: WON
February 1, 2009

Jarbidge Sage-Grouse

Case: WWP v. Dyer, 04-cv-181-BLW (D. Idaho)

This long-standing litigation challenges BLM’s mismanagement of grazing in the Jarbidge Resource Area of southern Idaho, which has harmed sage-grouse, pygmy rabbits, and other sensitive sagebrush-obligate species and their habitats. Our first court victory, in 2004, held that BLM violated NEPA in approving “temporary” grazing increases sought by Simplot Co. and other major corporate ranchers….

Washington State Lands
Status: WON
January 1, 2009

Washington State Lands

Case: Dr. Steve Herman & WWP v. WDFW, No. 08-2-00276-1, Thurston County Sup. Ct

Three rounds of state court litigation challenging Washington Dept. of Fish and Wildlife’s agreement with ranchers to open state wildlife refuges to livestock grazing, various grazing leases given by WDFW on state wildlife refuges, and an EIS which opened up the Whiskey Dick Wildlife Area to grazing.  These include areas vital to the last remaining sage-grouse populations…

Meadow Creek ORVs
Status: FAVORABLY-DISMISSED
September 1, 2008

Meadow Creek ORVs

Case: The Wilderness Society and Idaho Conservation League v. Forest Service, No. 08-cv-236-BLW (D. Idaho)

Meadow Creek is a major tributary to the Selway River in central Idaho which is a candidate Wild and Scenic river; and it offers some of the best habitat anywhere for endangered salmon, steelhead and bull trout.  The Idaho conservation community has long fought to protect Meadow Creek from logging, roads, and other human impacts. Working…