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.

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…

Spring Valley Wind Energy Facility
Status: SETTLED

Spring Valley Wind Energy Facility

Case: Western Watersheds Project & Center for Biological Diversity v. BLM; 3:11-CV-53 (DCt); 11-15799 (9th Cir.)

This case challenged a poorly-sited wind facility consisting of 75 wind turbines (each over 400 feet tall) as well as over 25 miles of new roads on BLM public land in Spring Valley, Nevada (east of Ely). The facility near Great Basin National Park would be only 4 miles from a regionally-significant bat roost known…

Owyhee Wilderness Trapping
Status: SETTLED

Owyhee Wilderness Trapping

Case: Idaho Conservation League v. BLM

Advocates for the West is challenging BLM’s decision to allow commercial trapping in the Owyhee Canyonlands Wilderness Areas.In 2009, Congress designated six wilderness areas and sixteen wild and scenic river segments in Owyhee County in Southwest Idaho. Though close to Boise, the rugged river canyons and vast desert of the Owyhee Canyonlands offer unique opportunities for…

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…

Wildlife Services FOIAs
Status: SETTLED

Wildlife Services FOIAs

Case: Wildlife Services FOIAs

Advocates for the West is helping our client Western Watersheds Project keep an eye on the notorious wildlife-killing agency, Wildlife Services. The agency kills thousands of animals around the West every year.  In 2012, the agency killed over 3,000 coyotes in Idaho alone. The methods used include cruel and dangerous ones, such as foot-hold traps,…