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.

Little Colorado River Basin Fracking
Status: FAVORABLY-DISMISSED

Little Colorado River Basin Fracking

Case: Case 3:19-cv-08204-CDB

February 6, 2020 — Advocates for the West reached an agreement with the Trump administration suspending 4,200 acres of oil and gas leases on public land in Arizona’s Little Colorado River Valley as part of a joint motion filed in federal court. The federal government’s suspension of the leases prohibits any oil and gas activity…

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…

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…

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…

Status: SETTLED

Idaho state land grazing

Case: Lazy Y Ranch v. Wiggins, 06-cv-340-MHW (D. Idaho)

Executive Director Laird Lucas has brought a series of lawsuits against the Idaho State Land Board over the last decade, based on their refusal to award school land leases to conservationists seeking to pay more money to protect and restore the lands. The Idaho Supreme Court has issued several decisions, all holding that it violates…

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…

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….

Sonoran National Monument grazing
Status: FAVORABLY-DISMISSED

Sonoran National Monument grazing

Case: WWP v. BLM, No. 08-cv-1472-MHM (D. Az.)

President Clinton designated the 500,000-acre Sonoran Desert National Monument in 2001 to protect its outstanding wildlife, plant and other natural resources.  The Monument proclamation ordered BLM to halt livestock grazing on part of the Monument, and to study whether grazing would be compatible with the Monument purposes on the remainder.   Yet eight years later, BLM still has not made that compatability…

Pleasantview allotment
Status: SETTLED

Pleasantview allotment

Case: ICL & WWP v. Steele, No. 01-cv-529 (D. Idaho)

The Pleasantview allotment covers 70,000 acres of mostly public lands near Malad City, in southeast Idaho.  It offers habitat for greater sage-grouse, Columbia sharp-tail grouse, and other imperiled species; yet BLM has allowed excessive livestock grazing to badly damage the uplands and stream bottoms.  Weeds and alien species are spreading, aided by livestock overgrazing of native…

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…