Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Over the River: Right where you left it

Posted By on Tue, Feb 25, 2014 at 3:39 PM

click to enlarge WOLFGANG VOLZ
  • Wolfgang Volz
In the latest news on Christo's Over the River project, there's ... not really any news.

Well, nothing out of the ordinary in this process, anyway. As of today, OTR Corp. has won favorable rulings in two of the three court cases related to the project. The remaining federal challenge has yet to be ruled.

Meanwhile, though, over 100 miles of the Arkansas River has recently been awarded a Gold Medal Trout Waters designation, which is handed out by the Colorado Parks and Wildlife Commission. The status basically means that this is prime fishing ground for the public, with lots of fish available of a quality size. The award covers where OTR is planned to be built, and that has since given ROAR a chance to further dispute the project. Now it's requesting that the Bureau of Land Management conduct a Supplemental Environmental Impact Study, given the new status of that portion of the river. ROAR has asked the BLM to respond within 60 days.

An initial Environmental Impact Study was conducted a few years ago, at Christo's behest which the BLM requested, given the span of the project, and Christo also asked for. (EIS' are often only used for large-scale building constructions). The results were favorable for OTR (overall, the project should have no "significant impacts" to any wildlife on land, sea or air), and based on that, the BLM gave OTR a green light. You can read all the EIS drafts and BLM's record of decision here.

Based on the press releases sent out by both camps, ROAR is still as amped up as ever. OTR Corp. however, chose more pointed words, writing: "[A]sking for more study of issues that were already meticulously analyzed and commented on during a nearly three year public process is nothing more than another unfortunate delay tactic."

And also: "These kinds of delays are not new to Christo. He will identify the exhibition date when the legal process is successfully resolved."

Stay tuned.

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