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.

Status: WON
April 28, 2005

Clearwater — Lolo Creek Timber Sales

Case:

We won an injunction in 2004 preventing the Clearwater National Forest from proceeding with two adjoining timber sales in the Lolo Creek watershed of central Idaho, to protect habitat of imperilled fish — including salmon, steelhead, and bull trout. Even though the Forest Service developed the two sales — called “White/White” and “Brick/Trout” — at the…

Clearwater Old Growth
Status: WON
April 1, 2005

Clearwater Old Growth

Case: The Wilderness Society et al v. Bosworth, 118 F. Supp. 2d 1082 (D. Mont. 2000)

Representing a broad coalition of national, state and local conservation groups, we brought this case in 1997 to stop Forest Service plans to log old growth forests in the Clearwater region of central Idaho — including the headwaters of the Lochsa and North Fork Clearwater rivers.   The case focused on how logging and logging roads…

Squaw Valley/Spanish Ranch
Status: WON
November 10, 2004

Squaw Valley/Spanish Ranch

Case: WWP v. BLM, Dept. of Interior OHA No. NV-10-2004-01 & 02

This administrative appeal before the Office of Hearings and Appeals in the Department of Interior challenged BLM’s authorization of grazing on the Squaw Valley and Spanish Ranch allotments of northern Nevada, where Barrick Goldstrike — a major gold mining company — has purchased several ranches and is running livestock on them. Following an evidentiary hearing, the…

Otter Creek Diversion Challenge
Status: WON
November 21, 2002

Otter Creek Diversion Challenge

Case: IWP v. Jones, 00-cv-730-BLW (D. Idaho)

Endangered Species Act citizen suit against Verl and Tuddie Jones for unlawful “take” of threatened bull trout through operation of their unscreened diversion on Otter Creek, located on Salmon Challis National Forest public lands. We won an injunction prohibiting further diversions until the irrigator obtained a special use permit from US Forest Service, and it conducted ESA consultation…

Sawtooth Wolves
Status: WON
June 13, 2002

Sawtooth Wolves

Case: WWP & ICL v. Sawtooth National Forest, 01-cv-389-BLW (D. Idaho)

Pleasantview allotment
Status: SETTLED

Pleasantview allotment

Case: ICL & WWP v. Steele, No. 01-cv-529 (D. Idaho)

The Pleasantview allotment covers 70,000 acres of mostly public lands near Malad City, in southeast Idaho.  It offers habitat for greater sage-grouse, Columbia sharp-tail grouse, and other imperiled species; yet BLM has allowed excessive livestock grazing to badly damage the uplands and stream bottoms.  Weeds and alien species are spreading, aided by livestock overgrazing of native…

Sonoran National Monument grazing
Status: FAVORABLY-DISMISSED

Sonoran National Monument grazing

Case: WWP v. BLM, No. 08-cv-1472-MHM (D. Az.)

President Clinton designated the 500,000-acre Sonoran Desert National Monument in 2001 to protect its outstanding wildlife, plant and other natural resources.  The Monument proclamation ordered BLM to halt livestock grazing on part of the Monument, and to study whether grazing would be compatible with the Monument purposes on the remainder.   Yet eight years later, BLM still has not made that compatability…

Mt. Wilson pinyon-juniper logging
Status: SETTLED

Mt. Wilson pinyon-juniper logging

Case: American Lands Alliance, WWP et al v. Kolkman, No. N-02-cv-182 (D. Nevada)

This case challenged BLM’s proposal to clearcut and mulch some 50 square miles of old growth pinyon-juniper forest around the Mt. Wilson area of central Nevada. BLM claimed that the logging was needed to reduce wildfire risks in the “urban/wildland interface,” even though there is no urban area in this remote part of Nevada — and…

Idaho Clean Water Act Permitting
Status: WON

Idaho Clean Water Act Permitting

Case: No. 18-72684

September 10, 2020 – After a six-month wait since oral argument, the 9th Circuit ruled on Advocates for the West’s challenge to the EPA’s approval of the Idaho NPDES Program. The opinion rules that we were victorious on the mens rea issue with the court holding that states must have a criminal negligence standard that…

Little Colorado River Basin Fracking
Status: FAVORABLY-DISMISSED

Little Colorado River Basin Fracking

Case: Case 3:19-cv-08204-CDB

February 6, 2020 — Advocates for the West reached an agreement with the Trump administration suspending 4,200 acres of oil and gas leases on public land in Arizona’s Little Colorado River Valley as part of a joint motion filed in federal court. The federal government’s suspension of the leases prohibits any oil and gas activity…