Founded in 1989, WESTERN RESOURCE ADVOCATES  (WRA) is a non-profit environmental law and policy organization. With offices in six states (ColoradoUtahArizonaNevadaNew Mexico, and Idaho), we have developed strategic programs focusing in three areas: Water, Energy and Lands. Each of our programs is committed to curtailing climate change.

Our Mission

Western Resource Advocates' mission is to protect the West's land, air, and water.  Our team of lawyers, scientists, and economists works to:  1) promote a clean energy future that reduces pollution and the threat of global warming; 2) restore degraded river systems and to encourage urban water providers to use existing water supplies more efficiently in order to meet human needs while protecting rivers, streams, and aquifers; and 3) protect public lands across the region from the threats of energy development.  Across our programs, we empower local conservation groups and seek opportunities to partner with others who share our goal of protecting the western way of life.  WRA recognizes that success can only come from working collaboratively with other conservation groups, business, hunters and fishermen, ranchers, American Indians, and all those who seek a sustainable future for this remarkable part of the country.

Our Priorities

  • Protect the West's rivers, including the Cache le Poudre, Colorado, Green, Gunnison, Verde, White, Yampa, San Pedro, and Gila.
  • Ensure safe, clean water for Western cities including 11 in Colorado, 4 in Utah, and 6 in Arizona.
  • Preserve Utah's Great Salt Lake and the 5 million water birds that rely on the lake.
  • Safeguard lands and communities across the West from poorly planned or sited oil and gas drilling, fracking, and oil shale and tar sands development.
  • Defend the West's threatened lands and recreation heritage from impacts associated with energy development that can fragment habitat, harm wildlife, and impair air and water quality.
  • Create a clean energy future based on the West's vast renewable resources, energy efficiency, distributed generation, and sound placement of energy projects and transmission.
  • Protect the region from the threats of climate change by reducing pollution from the power sector.
  • Develop approaches to ensure that the West's communities and resources are resilient to climate change impacts.
  • Promote energy choices, such as wind and solar, that use little water.

How We Work

As a solutions-oriented organization, Western Resource Advocates connects with and informs the decision makers who are making choices that will impact The West for decades to come.

For the energy program, this involves participation in regulatory, legislative and other venues to advocate for renewable energy, energy efficiency, and reducing our reliance on fossil fuels. We also work directly with utilities to encourage adoption of strategies to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. The transmission project places key staff on decision making bodies where consideration is given to proper placement of energy lines and projects.

The water program, in protecting rivers and ensuring water supplies for communities, guides state and federal agencies to improve river flows and water quality. A growing component is the energy-water nexus project that informs decision makers of the water impacts of energy choices and encourages energy choices such as wind and solar which use little water.

In each of our programs, we also prevent bad things from happening. This involves challenging permits to dump toxins into Great Salt Lake, stopping oil and gas development in places that are too special to be drilled, and challenging permits that would enable coal plants to continue with business as usual practices.

We seek sound regulation for practices that need to be regulated. Our work to increase setbacks for oil and gas development is a good example of this, as is our work on oil shale and tar sands.

Addressing the overarching threat from climate change is a thread that connects all of our work. Communications plays a large role in each of our programs. We share our analyses and distribute information through a number of vehicles such as traditional and social media, reports, our blog, and video. By sharing information, our goal is to unite the conservation community in a solutions-oriented approach to large problems and to lay out action plans that we implement for conservation results.