Environmental Law

Citing Environmental Concerns, Denver Law Clinic Helps Sue to Stop Christo 'Over the River' Project

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Denver law students representing a group concerned about canyonland drilling necessary to anchor a massive Christo public art installation “Over the River” are suing to stop the project.

Christo plans to stretch fabric over the Arkansas River for two weeks in August 2014, an effort that critics who’ve dubbed themselves “ROAR,” or Rags Over The Arkansas River, maintain is as risky as mineral development.

The installation would cover some 5.9 miles of the river and require the drilling of more than 9,000 bore holes, some 35 feet deep, in a critically sensitive wildlife area, according to a suit filed by the Environmental Law Clinic at the University of Denver Sturm College of Law(PDF).

The suit against the Bureau of Land Management maintains Christo’s project “requires the use of equipment commonly used in mining and road building, such as hydraulic drill masts mounted on Cat 320-330 long-reach excavators, Cat M313D—M322D wheeled excavators, boom truck cranes, grouters, air compressors, water tanks, grout mixers, support trailers, steel rock anchors, and anchor frames.”

“We tried to work with the federal agency. We tried to work with state Division of Wildlife. We’re trying now to work with the two counties, Fremont County and Chaffey County. But we are at the point now where the best course of action is to stop this in federal court,” Joan Anzelmo with ROAR told CBS 4 in Denver.

Christo has welcomed the criticism, but he and his supporters have maintained there will be minimal environmental impact. In a “myths and facts” section of his website, Christo asserts, “every effort will be made to minimize all potential impacts related to noise, vegetation, air quality and water quality.”

Also see:

Bureau of Land Management: Over the River, final Environmental Impact Statement

YouTube Video: University of Denver Sturm College of Law

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