This small group of people is indeed changing the world.

WELC is on a winning streak, saving wild places, wildlife, and communities across the West.

Our Successes

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 on the following text links to view our past wildlands victories, wildlife victories, climate and energy victories, and our 2016 victory report.

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.

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Over the last 20 years, we've provided legal representation AT NO COST to more than 400 organizations. Your donation helps protect and defend the West.


Oregon Legislature puts permanent restrictions on suction dredge mining

Legislation to put permanent restrictions on motorized suction dredge mining in Oregon is headed to the Governor for her signature.

Lawmakers, led by the late Sen. Alan Bates, struggled...

Senate rejects bid to kill sensible BLM methane rule (News Release 5/10/17)

Senate heeds 81 percent of Westerners who support methane waste reduction

In a close vote, the Senate chose today to protect taxpayers, public health, and the environment by preserving the Bureau of Land Management methane waste rule. Today's vote reflects...

Eugene environmentalists cheer judge’s recommendation on timber sale northwest of Crater Lake

A federal judge in Eugene has recommended that Umpqua National Forest planners better study the environmental impacts of a potential timber sale 60 miles east of Roseburg, near Crater Lake...

Judge says timber sale in Crater Lake's back yard could harm wildlife, orders study (Press Release 3/21/17)

A U.S. District Court in Eugene has issued an order...