Changes at the BLM could affect Over the River (Updated)



UPDATE: 12:20 p.m., Sept. 14

Well the reorganization at the BLM is much ado about nothing, kind of. When we contacted Cass Cairns, public affairs officer for the BLM's Royal Gorge office, today regarding Keith Berger's statement from the week prior, Cairns said there was no reorganization going on at all.

Well, except that last year the BLM went from a two-tier system to a three-tier system, in which a third entity was added between the field offices and the state offices. Greg Shoop, Front Range District Manager, consults with the field offices in big decisions including this one regarding "Over the River." However, the ultimate decision still falls to Berger.

The comment period for "Over the River" ends today. Online comments will be accepted through midnight, while mailed submissions must be postmarked with today's date to be accepted. Cairns says that the comments — which will be formally tabulated by an outside company — are still mixed.



The Royal Gorge Field Office of the Bureau of Land Management is undergoing some reorganization, which could affect the person who makes the Record of Decision regarding Christo and Jeanne-Claude's "Over the River" project.

As we reported earlier this month ('Rags' and riches), the BLM will issue a Record of Decision next April on whether or not Over the River will be allowed to happen. The decision is informed by the Environmental Impact Statement, an exhaustive study on the impacts the piece of art will have on transportation, wildlife, safety and other factors. Right now comments are being accepted for review for the Draft Environmental Impact Statement. The BLM will take comments through next Tuesday, Sept. 14.

The ROD was going to fall to Royal Gorge Office Field Manager Keith Berger, but when called today, Berger said that the department changes — which weren't prompted by Over the River — may change that. No word yet on who will receive that duty. Check back for more information.

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