UPDATE: ROAR: Still here, still fighting Over the River

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Score one for Over the River. On Thursday, Colorado District Court ruled to uphold the Colorado State Parks board's approval of the project. The Wall Street Journal reports: "Citing a 1,700-page environmental impact statement, Denver District Court Robert McGahey on Thursday ruled that the state didn’t act in an arbitrary and capricious manner with its agreement."

ROAR had filed the suit, and in a release says it is "disappointed" but will continue in its other case, a federal suit against the BLM, and possibly appeal this one.

"ROAR is reviewing the text of the decision with our legal counsel and will make a decision on an appeal in due course."

In a statement from Over the River Corp., Christo says, "We have now cleared two of the three legal hurdles that need to be overcome and I look forward to the federal court making its decision on the third case still pending."

——- ORIGINAL POST: MONDAY, AUG. 12, 5 P.M. ——-

In case you wondered the wherabouts of Over the River, here's some non-news for you: It's still locked in court.

Although Over the River Corp. cleared a federal appeal, the group still has a ways to go before even beginning to work again on the project.

That's in large part because Rags Over the Arkansas River (ROAR) is still fighting, and wants to make sure no one forgets it. ROAR, in a release sent yesterday, gave an update on its legal battles against the art project, urging people not to be confused about stories that "suggest" Over the River is home free, Westword reports.

ROAR
  • ROAR

OTR is far from that, due in part to ROAR amending its suit against OTR Corp. and the Bureau of Land Management back in July; that suit could still be heard in federal court. This is entirely different from the administrative appeal (which was backed by a separate group of individuals), in which the Interior Board of Land Appeals agreed with the BLM's record of decision allowing the project.

ROAR says on its website that the confusion is coming from OTR and BLM's formal replies to the amended suit; though they basically call for the suit to be dismissed, ROAR notes that's only "boilerplate language" and "expected." It adds: "These procedural replies are not motions to dismiss ROAR's lawsuit."

Which means that OTR will continue sitting where it's been for over a year now, embroiled in legal battles, right where ROAR wants it. In ROAR's press release (which you can read in full after the jump), the group states, "There will continue to be a series of standard procedural legal steps in the coming months in advance of ROAR’s lawsuit ultimately being heard in federal court."


Christo Stalled Indefinitely By ROAR

The grassroots organization, Rags Over the Arkansas River, (ROAR), based in Canon City, CO, is moving closer to having its case against BLM and Christo’s Over the River Corporation heard in federal court. The goal of ROAR’s federal lawsuit is to prevent Christo from ever being allowed to construct and install the industrial scale Over the River project above the Arkansas River in Bighorn Sheep Canyon.

Thanks to ROAR, Christo remains indefinitely stalled with no announced start date for his 2.5 yearlong industrial scale construction phase of the OTR project and no projected date for the OTR project’s 14 day display.

ROAR originally filed a lawsuit against BLM in February 2012 which included allegations that BLM violated federal laws and BLM’s own policies when they approved Christo’s Over the River (OTR) project for Bighorn Sheep Canyon and the Arkansas River. In the ensuing eighteen months there have been a series of procedural legal steps.

More recently, on July 12, ROAR filed an amended lawsuit following the decision by the administrative review entity, the Department of the Interior’s Board of Land Appeals (IBLA). As expected the IBLA concurred with BLM’s decision to issue a land use permit to OTR for the 2.5 year long industrial scale construction phase and 14 day display of the OTR project. The IBLA review happened because a third party filed an administrative appeal to the IBLA in December, 2011, also objecting to BLM’s decision to approve a permit for the OTR project.

The Department of Interior’s IBLA administrative review changes nothing regarding ROAR’s lawsuit including ROAR’s allegations that BLM violated federal laws and BLM policies in approving the OTR project for Bighorn Sheep Canyon and the Arkansas River. A portion of Christo’s OTR project is planned for an “Area of Critical Environmental Concern” (ACEC) as identified by BLM in their Royal Gorge Resource Management Plan. BLM’s special designation of the ACEC was established to protect the sensitive flora and fauna of Bighorn Sheep Canyon including Rocky Mountain Bighorn Sheep, Bald Eagles and other diverse wildlife.

After ROAR filed the amended lawsuit on July 12, and as part of the subsequent legal procedural steps, Christo’s OTR Corporation and BLM filed ‘replies’ to ROAR’s amended suit in federal court on August 6, and 7, respectively. BLM and OTR did not file ‘motions to dismiss’ ROAR’s lawsuit.

There will continue to be a series of standard procedural legal steps in the coming months in advance of ROAR’s lawsuit ultimately being heard in federal court. 

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