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.

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…

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…

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…

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…

K&W Dairy
Status: SETTLED

K&W Dairy

Case: ICL v. Boer d/b/a K&W Dairy, No. 04-cv-250 (D. Idaho)

Clean Air Act citizen suit against large proposed dairy for failing to obtain a permit to construct under Idaho air quality rules.  Because the dairy’s waste lagoons, manure piles, and barns would emit large amounts of ammonia, hydrogen sulfide, and particulates, it was required to obtain an air permit — but the dairy and Idaho regulators both…

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…

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…

Arsenic water quality standards
Status: SETTLED

Arsenic water quality standards

Case: ICL v. EPA, July 2008 notice letter

ITD Motor Waste Wells
Status: FAVORABLY-DISMISSED

ITD Motor Waste Wells

Case: Case #1:17-cv-00081-REB

November 10, 2016 – Advocates for the West notified the Idaho Transportation Department (ITD) of our intent to sue for owning and operating illegal motor vehicle waste disposal wells in violation of the Safe Drinking Water Act. Long ago, vehicle service shops disposed of oils, solvents, and other dangerous substances by simply injecting into the…

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…