How WWP’s Legal Program Works

Over the last five years or so, WWP’s staff has worked in close partnership with the attorneys at Advocates for the West to develop a broad portfolio of legal cases, involving literally dozens of court cases and appeals across six western states.

These cases use a variety of legal tools – including the Endangered Species Act, Clean Water Act, National Environmental Policy Act, Federal Lands Policy and Management Act, National Forest Management Act, and other laws – in order to protect fish and wildlife, improve their habitat, and block further degradation by greedy resource industries and complicit agencies.

Typically, cases are identified through on-the-ground work of WWP’s staff and its network of activists and expert scientists – who usually know what is happening to the land better than the local BLM or Forest Service office.

Then the lawyers, scientists, and activists collaborate as a team to establish goals and strategies intended to maximize our leverage, and identify good litigation opportunities. Sometimes we focus on one specific allotment – that may have high resource values, or offer a good opportunity to set precedent – and sometimes we bring large cases sweeping in millions of acres of public lands within an ecosystem or landscape.

At essence, WWP’s legal strategy is to “marry” law with science – proving to a court how an agency’s decisions (or failure to act) is harming the land and violating the law.

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