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.

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…

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…

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…

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…

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…

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…

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…

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…

Protecting Idaho’s Bighorn Sheep
Status: WON

Protecting Idaho’s Bighorn Sheep

Case: IWGA et al V. Tom Vilsack et al & TWS et al

On March 17th, 2014, Advocates for the West’s Senior Attorney Laurie Rule appeared in court as an intervenor on behalf of the US Forest Service. We backed the agency’s decision to restrict domestic sheep grazing on much of the Payette National Forest due to the likelihood of domestic and bighorn interaction. Such interactions lead to bighorn contracting a fatal disease from…

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…