A volunteer group, Rags Over the Arkansas River (“ROAR”), opposing Christo’s planned project to drape the Arkansas River with fabric has filed a brief asking the Colorado Supreme Court to review the case. Christo first proposed the project in 1996, and plans to drill steel anchors and erect frames to suspend 900 silver fabric panels 8-25 feet above 5.9 miles of the river between Salida and Cañon City. Installation would take about 27 weeks and the artwork would be displayed for an additional two weeks. The projected cost is $50 million.
The Court of Appeals rejected ROAR’s request in February to reverse the Colorado State Parks’ 2011 approval of the plan through the Bureau of Land Management. The Court of Appeals agreed with ROAR that the parks division violated its own procedures by approving the project through a cooperative agreement, and that the permitting shift was “arbitrary and capricious.” However, the court ruled that this shift was “harmless error” and that the project would have been approved regardless, based on an extensive 1,700 page Environmental Impact Statement and 13 years of intense study of the project’s environmental effects. ROAR argues in its brief that this decision will have far reaching effects and threatens the state Constitution because the agency ignored its own regulations.
ROAR’s four previous legal challenges to Christo’s project have failed.