Photo Credit: Jamen Percy, Adobe Stock
WildEarth Guardians’ history – Protecting the voiceless
Recent Landmark Victories
Our hard-won victories and continued growth bear testament to this truth: nothing can dissuade us from a vision that entails protecting all of the American West, from its Rocky Mountains and Great Plains to its vast Sagebrush Sea.
— John Horning, Executive Director, WildEarth Guardians
In November 2022, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service announced its final decision to list the lesser prairie-chicken, a rare and charismatic grassland grouse, under the Endangered Species Act. The decision stems from a 2019 settlement agreement, following a lawsuit brought by WildEarth Guardians and partner organizations over the Service’s failure to act on a 2016 listing petition.
We won a lawsuit in October 2022 stopping the expansion of the Rosebud coal mine that would allow the strip mining of an additional 6,500 acres containing about 70 million tons of coal, which would then be burned almost exclusively at the Colstrip power plant and release over 100 million tons of greenhouse gases. Burning the coal at the Colstrip Power Plant requires diverting 25,000 to 50,000 acre feet of water from the Yellowstone River each year.
In October 2022, Guardians reached a legal settlement with Oxy committing the corporation to making operational changes and invest $5.5 million in emissions prevention at its southeast NM facilities, pay a $500,000 penalty and contribute $500,000 for area air quality and public health improvement projects.
In October 2022, we won a major appeal challenging an expansion to Colorado’s Gross Dam that would have added an additional 900,000 cubic feet of concrete to the existing dam, making it the tallest dam in Colorado and the tallest roller-compacted concrete dam in the U.S.—further draining the Colorado River at the expense of downstream users and ecosystems.
In September 2022, the Biden administration upheld our challenge to nearly 6,000 oil and gas wells in Uinta Basin of northeast Utah.
Over 43% of all coal produced in the U.S., and over 85% of all federal coal produced in the U.S., comes from the Powder River Basin of Wyoming and Montana and thanks to an August 2022 legal victory by Guardians and allies a federal judge rejected plans for massive new coal mining in Wyoming and Montana.
Our August 2022 legal agreement blocked oil, gas leasing on 2.2 million acres in southwestern Colorado until the BLM supplements its environmental analysis and releases an amended plan for lands in the area.
The Biden administration will address oil and gas leasing climate impacts, reconsider sale of nearly 4 million acres of public lands across Colorado, Montana, New Mexico, Utah, and Wyoming to the oil and gas industry thanks to a June 2022 legal agreement with Guardians.
With only about 300 wolverines living in the contiguous U.S. a lawsuit victory by Guardians and allies in May 2022 that invalidated a Trump administration decision denying ESA protections to wolverines and immediately reinstated wolverines’ “candidate” status as a species proposed for listing.
In April 2022, Guardians secured an agreement from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to evaluate millions of acres in the Southern Rockies for lynx critical habitat.
On April 1, 2022 a ban on traps, snares, and poisons on over 30 million acres of public lands across New Mexico went into effect following a decade of advocacy by WildEarth Guardians.
On February 10, 2022 WildEarth Guardians won a lawsuit restoring federal Endangered Species Act protections to the gray wolf in 44 of 48 lower states.
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