WELC’s secret to success is tried and true: take a small but connected and determined force–WELC’s staff, give them a powerful lever–the law, and you can change the world. We live in the American West, forging connections to both our natural environment and to the other committed advocates in our communities; connections that allow us to deeply understand the issues we face and the solutions that will work. Whether we're going to court, working the halls of legislature, or sitting down with a room of officials and Western residents, WELC knows which lever to pull to get results.
From the Rocky Mountains to the Pacific Ocean, we’ve accomplished many victories for the American West’s wildlife, wild places, and communities. Throughout our history, we have helped bring Mexican wolves back to the Southwest, protected northern spotted owls and the Pacific Northwest’s ancient forests, shielded Canada lynx from trapping, and made the federal government reconsider Endangered Species Act status for wolverines. We have protected free-flowing rivers from the Rio Grande in New Mexico to the Rogue River in Oregon. We helped the Assiniboine and Gros Ventre Tribes fight against gold mines on their ancestral lands in Montana over repeated cyanide spills and we helped numerous other communities fight against toxic discharges from factory farms and industrial polluters, including brokering a historic agreement with Los Alamos National Laboratory to address nuclear and other hazardous waste. We protected the 102,000-acre Valle Vidal in New Mexico from coalbed methane drilling (a form of natural gas development), stopped field burning in Oregon’s Willamette Valley (a practice that caused air pollution and critical health impacts in neighboring communities), and protected clean water from coalmine pollution in Montana.
And more victories are on the way. At WELC, we work every day to ensure those who would harm our public lands, our drinking water, wildlife, and communities are held accountable to the law of the land. Without watchdogs like ourselves and our partners, the laws meant to protect our values would be powerless. As we face climate change, our fight toward more resilient natural systems and communities is more important than ever.
Click here to watch a short video on our 2016 victories.
Click here to watch a short film commemorating WELC's 20 years (1993-2013) of Defending the West.
Below is a list of our most recent victories.