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.

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…

Ruby Pipeline
Status: SETTLED

Ruby Pipeline

Case: No filing

The Ruby pipeline is a project of El Paso Pipeline Corp., the country’s largest pipeline company, which will cover 650 miles from southwestern Wyoming to southern Oregon. The Ruby pipeline will carry 1.5 billion cubic feet of natural gas per day, providing a coal substitute for utilities on the West Coast. But the Ruby pipeline…

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…

California BLM FOIA
Status: SETTLED

California BLM FOIA

Case: Western Watersheds Project v. BLM, et al.

This case challenges BLM’s failure to fully respond to several Freedom of Information Act requests that have been pending for over two and a half years.  Client Western Watersheds Project requested information through FOIA about the formulation of three California BLM Resource Management Plans, in important areas home to Greater sage-grouse. FOIA is a critical…

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…

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…

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…

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…

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…