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.

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)

Protecting Idaho Wild and Scenic Rivers
Status: WON

Protecting Idaho Wild and Scenic Rivers

Case: Case 3:16-cv-00102-CWD

Advocates for the West filed suit in Idaho federal court to protect the Selway and Middle Fork Clearwater Wild and Scenic Rivers from massive clear-cutting approved by the Forest Service on the Nez Perce-Clearwater National Forest. The suit challenges the Forest Service’s approval of the Johnson Bar Fire Salvage Project, which would log 34 million…

Ruby Pipeline
Status: SETTLED

Ruby Pipeline

Case: No filing

The Ruby pipeline is a project of El Paso Pipeline Corp., the country’s largest pipeline company, which will cover 650 miles from southwestern Wyoming to southern Oregon. The Ruby pipeline will carry 1.5 billion cubic feet of natural gas per day, providing a coal substitute for utilities on the West Coast. But the Ruby pipeline…

Mahogany Creek diversion
Status: SETTLED

Mahogany Creek diversion

Case: IWP v. Whitworth, oo-cv-728 (D. Idaho)

Endangered Species Act citizen suit against Judd Whitworth and Sulphur Creek Livestock for unlawful “take” of threatened bull trout through operation of unscreened public lands diversion on Mahogany Creek, tributary to upper Pahsimeroi River. Our experts showed that the Mahogany Creek diversion would likely “take” bull trout through entrainment into the unscreened ditch, which continued…

California BLM FOIA
Status: SETTLED

California BLM FOIA

Case: Western Watersheds Project v. BLM, et al.

This case challenges BLM’s failure to fully respond to several Freedom of Information Act requests that have been pending for over two and a half years.  Client Western Watersheds Project requested information through FOIA about the formulation of three California BLM Resource Management Plans, in important areas home to Greater sage-grouse. FOIA is a critical…

Wildlife Services in Idaho
Status: FAVORABLY-DISMISSED

Wildlife Services in Idaho

Case: Wildlife Services in Idaho

USDA APHIS WILDLIFE SERVICES (“Wildlife Services”) spends millions of dollars and thousands of person-hours to kill thousands of wolves, coyotes, foxes, beavers, cougars, birds, and other wildlife species across Idaho each year, using aerial and ground shooting, poisons, traps, explosives, and other methods. Yet, Wildlife Services has never prepared an Environmental Impact Statement for its…

Herd Creek diversion
Status: SETTLED

Herd Creek diversion

Case: IWP v. Bennetts, 00-cv-729 (D. Idaho)

Endangered Species Act citizen suit against Jim Bennetts for unlawful “take” of threatened salmon, steelhead, and bull trout associated with his unscreened public lands diversions on Herd Creek and Lake Creek (East Fork Salmon River watershed), and because of livestock damage to critical habitat on his base property. After we filed for summary judgment supported by several…

BLM Secret Permit Transfer
Status: WON

BLM Secret Permit Transfer

Case: Western Watersheds Project v. Pike, Case No. 12-0205

Advocates for the West filed a federal lawsuit against the Bureau of Land Management challenging BLM secret grazing permit transfer to one of the largest livestock corporations in the U.S., J.R. Simplot Livestock Co (“Simplot”). In the midst of separate litigation over the BLM’s grazing permits on the Battle Creek allotment, BLM secretly transferred two of these…