Advocates for the West


Mission Statement

Our mission is to win for our public lands, water and wildlife — preserving the American West now, and into the future. It’s how the West is won.


Advocates for the West is a public interest, nonprofit environmental law firm that protects and defends the West’s natural treasures and wildlife. We provide free legal services to conservation organizations and concerned citizens across the West. With offices in Boise, ID and Portland, OR, Advocates for the West works in all 11 western states.
Founded in 2003 by Yale Law School graduate Laird J. Lucas, our team of nine attorneys and three administrative staff is small but effective. Advocates for the West consistently wins or favorably settles 85% of our cases, and we were recently listed by E&E News as one of the most active environmental law firms in the country.
Advocates for the West is a proven performer in the federal court of law for conservation values treasured by Americans across the nation, yet so deeply threatened by a powerful few. Our mission is to win for our public lands, water and wildlife — preserving the American West now, and into the future. It’s how the West is won.
Advocates for the West provides nimble, strategic and professional legal support for threatened and often under-represented ecosystems and species — always looking for a breaking opportunity, yet steadfastly focused on long-term priorities.
Demand for our legal expertise is on the rise. In the face of policy rollbacks and government abdication of well-established science, we provide dedicated and strategic legal counsel to a large and growing list of client-partners.
From sage-grouse to salmon, our legal team gives voice to the fish and wildlife that make our public lands and waterways far richer than the extraordinary scenery they hold. And we protect the precious places these native species call home.

Program Details

For 17 years, Advocates for the West has been winning or favorably settling an average of 85% of our cases. Some of our most significant landmark cases include:
Public Lands: In 2019, we won a strong ruling that protects 51 million acres of public lands in 7 western states, blocking the Trump administration's plans to allow expanded drilling, mining, livestock grazing and other destructive activities in sensitive habitat areas. Known as the Sagebrush Sea, this landscape is home to more than 350 sensitive wildlife and plant species. Of these, approximately 60 species are listed or are candidates for listing under the Endangered Species Act. Our legal efforts include fighting to protect sage-grouse, pygmy rabbits, pronghorn antelope, Lahontan cutthroat trout, and myriad more that call the Sagebrush Sea home.
Wild and Scenic Rivers: In a fight that spanned many years, we protected the Wild and Scenic Lochsa River corridor, one of the nation’s premier scenic routes through the largest wilderness ecosystem in the lower 48 states, from becoming a thoroughfare for Big Oil “mega-loads” — massive shipments of oil refinery equipment bound for the Canadian tar sands. This wild heart of Idaho is beloved for its natural beauty, abundant fish and wildlife, world class recreation, Lewis and Clark expedition history, and Native American culture.
Fish and Wildlife: Over the years, Advocates for the West has successfully won protections for many threatened and endangered species. We are the leading defender of Bighorn Sheep, which are at risk for contracting a fatal illness from domestic sheep. Our victories have set strong legal precedent, which we are using to push for more Bighorn Sheep protections across the West. Our team also fights to protect critical salmon habitat; from the West’s largest rivers to some of the highest elevation salmon spawning habitat on the planet. We defend the streams at the most remote reaches where salmon return to spawn, and the mighty rivers that salmon use to make their journeys to and from the sea.
Mining Pollution: In 2012 we won the largest Clean Water Act (CWA) penalty ever awarded against a mining company in our citizen suit against Atlanta Gold in Idaho for its more than 2,000 violations of the CWA and failing to clean up historic mining pollution in the Middle Fork Boise River. This dirty mining project threatened native fish and wildlife, as well as drinking water supplies for Idaho’s largest metropolitan area. Thanks to our legal actions, this Canadian mining company is now effectively out of business — sending a strong message that water is more precious than gold.
Primary Issue
PO Box 1612
Boise, ID 83701
United States
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