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.

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…

East Boulder Creek Gold Mining
Status: FAVORABLY-DISMISSED

East Boulder Creek Gold Mining

Case: Idaho Conservation League v. U.S. Forest Service, Case No. 4:15-cv-284 (D. Idaho)

Advocates for the West is challenging the Forest Service’s decision to approve gold mining in the Napoleon Ridge Roadless Area on East Boulder Creek without studying the environmental impacts. East Boulder Creek is a tributary to the main Salmon River and is located approximately 11 miles west of North Fork, Idaho. On July 10, the…

Idaho Predator Hunt Derby
Status: FAVORABLY-DISMISSED

Idaho Predator Hunt Derby

Case: Idaho Predator Derby

On November 13, 2014, Advocates for the West filed a complaint against the Bureau of Land Management challenging the authorization of the “Idaho Predator Hunt Derby” on public lands surrounding the town of Salmon, Idaho.  This case is ongoing, however, the BLM rescinded the permit on over 3 million acres of land after initially granting a 5-year…

Camas Creek Fisheries
Status: SETTLED

Camas Creek Fisheries

Case: 4:12-cv-00197-BLW

Advocates for the West, representing Western Watersheds Project, filed this suit to protect the wild salmonids of Camas Creek. Those who have rafted the Middle Fork Salmon River know that Camas Creek is a beautiful tributary of that river, flows in large part within the Frank Church-River of No Return Wilderness, and is home to…

Arsenic water quality standards
Status: SETTLED

Arsenic water quality standards

Case: ICL v. EPA, July 2008 notice letter

Canyon of the Ancients Grazing
Status: WON

Canyon of the Ancients Grazing

Case: Canyon of the Ancients Grazing

On August 11th, 2015, Advocates for the West’s Staff Attorney Elizabeth Zultoski filed a protest against the Bureau of Land Management’s proposed decision to issue new 10-year grazing permits in Colorado’s famed Canyon of the Ancients National Monument. Canyon of the Ancients includes 170,965 acres in the Four Corners region of southwest Colorado and contains “the highest known density of archaeological sites in…

Snowmobile Use in California National Forests
Status: SETTLED

Snowmobile Use in California National Forests

Case: Snowlands Network et al Vs. US Forest Service

Advocates for the West is representing Snowlands Network, Winter Wildlands Alliance and Center for Biological Diversity  in a case regarding better management of snowmobile use on National Forest land in California. Snowmobiles create air pollution through emissions that far surpass those of regular passenger cars, run over trees and shrubs, damaging the vegetation, and scare wildlife….

Lemhi endangered fish
Status: SETTLED

Lemhi endangered fish

Case: WWP v. Wood et al., No. 09-cv-368 (D. Idaho)

This action challenges Forest Service and BLM violations of the Endangered Species Act in failing to carry out consulations with US Fish and Wildlife Service and NOAA Fisheries over impacts of livestock grazing, irrigation diversions, and other management actions upon salmon, steelhead and bull trout in the Lemhi River watershed of central Idaho. The Lemhi River…

Salmon River Suction Dredging
Status: FAVORABLY-DISMISSED

Salmon River Suction Dredging

Case: CVOC1218520

On October 12, 2012, Advocates for the West filed a Petition for Judicial Review on behalf of Idaho Conservation League challenging the State of Idaho’s approval of a riverbed mineral lease to Mike Conklin. The lease would have allowed Mr. Conklin to intensively suction dredge a half-mile segment of the bed of Idaho’s famed Salmon River approximately 13…

Idaho Wildlife Services FOIA Lawsuit
Status: FAVORABLY-DISMISSED

Idaho Wildlife Services FOIA Lawsuit

Case: Western Watersheds Project v. USDA-APHIS Wildlife Services

On June 22, 2015, Advocates for the West filed a lawsuit in Idaho federal court on behalf of Western Watersheds Project against Wildlife Services to force the agency to disclose information about its wildlife-killing methods and activities in Idaho. The lawsuit alleges numerous violations of the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA). FOIA is a federal law that…