Recreation Groups Argue For New Law Before Ninth Circuit


The extent to which nonfederal parties can participate in environmental litigation is now under review by an en banc panel of the U.S. Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals following a case argued on December 13, 2010.  Read the full article.

Conservationists Intervene in Frivolous Anti-Mexican Gray Wolf Lawsuit (press release)


The Center for Biological Diversity and Defenders of Wildlife — represented by the Western Environmental Law Center — today intervened in a lawsuit that seeks the trapping and shooting of endangered Mexican gray wolves, the third since reintroduction began in 1998.

Fighting Greenhouse Gas Pollution from Industrial Operations

One thing the West is known for: Our clean air. But we have to work to keep it that way. Industrial operations with their heavy machinery are also a part of the West, and these need to be looked at carefully as we consider how to reduce greenhouse gases.

Promoting Renewable Energy with Companies, Nonprofits, Schools, and Communities

In May of 2010, we joined with the other nearly 50 companies, nonprofits, school districts, and municipal agencies to help found the Voluntary Renewable Energy Coalition. Our membership in this coalition exemplifies our wide-ranging work out of the courtroom to join with like-minded people to support next-generation energy laws and policies that will speed our transition from dirty fossil fuels to clean, renewable, carbon-free energy. As a member of this coalition, we support three basic principles.

Restoring the Mexican Gray Wolf

Litigation is about reconciling competing interests. A picture-perfect example of how that works is WELC’s lawsuit over the reintroduction of the Mexican gray wolf to the Southwest. Wolves are both beautiful, iconic animals, and apex predators, critical parts of the American ecosystem. But by the 1950s, they had been all but eliminated from the landscape. A reintroduction program was begun in 1976, a multi-decade effort that would span a dozen states and cost tens of millions of dollars.

Almost immediately, there were tangible results. As the Christian Science Monitor reported,

Ensuring Sufficient Water Supply for the Colorado River

The Department of Interior has issued its “shortage” plan for dealing with drought in the Colorado River basin.  The problem is that it is based on overly-optimistic precipitation forecasts, ignoring evidence of past drought as well as global warming.  This means that the river and its habitat including the Grand Canyon will suffer in drought years when little water is left in the river.  WELC is challenging this plan based on unscientific assumptions, to ensure that there will always be a vibrant Colorado River and Grand Canyon for generations to come.

Challenging Government Abdication of Duty to Recover Mexican Wolf

Despite a 10-year reintroduction and recovery effort, the Mexican wolf is no closer to recovery than when the program began.  That is due in large measure to the fact that rather than take charge of recovery as required by the Endangered Species Act, the U.S.

Environmentalists Challenge More Bush Administration Political Interference in Endangered Species Decisions


The Center for Biological Diversity today filed five separate lawsuits concerning Bush Administration political interference in designation of critical habitat for six western species, including the western snowy plover, California tiger salamander, southwestern willow flycatcher, Buena Vista Lake shrew and two California plants. The lawsuits represent the latest action in a campaign by the Center to reverse politically tainted decisions concerning dozens of endangered species.

Travel Planning in the Southwest

In the Southwest, the Forest Service is planning for the long-term future of motorized recreation. While focused on motorized recreation – off road vehicles – this planning effort will have a profound impact on the Southwest’s conservation and quiet-use recreation heritage. Working with grassroots conservation groups, the Western Environmental Law Center is providing strategic leadership and advice to ensure that this heritage is protected for future generations.

Keeping the Grand Canyon Wild

The Western Environmental Law Center is representing a coalition of organizations committed to keeping the Grand Canyon wild.

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