Status Reports and Legal Update
February 25, 2015: ROAR Files Appeal in State Court: ROAR filed a motion today in the Colorado Court of Appeals asking the Court to grant a rehearing of the appeal.
In this appeal motion, ROAR believes the court overlooked record evidence of prejudice arising from the timing of the “cooperative agreement.” The unlawful agreement was in fact approved as the final act of the Parks Division, in its last meeting before merging with the Colorado Wildlife Commission —a body which had previously voted unanimously to oppose the Over the River project.
On February 12, The Court of Appeals determined that the former Division of Parks and Outdoor Recreation acted unlawfully when it abandoned its own special activities permitting process in order to authorize the Over the River Project through a so-called “cooperative agreement.” However, the Court also held that Parks’ arbitrary and capricious acts were harmless, because “the outcome would have been the same” even if the agency had followed the proper procedures.ROAR challenges this assumption.
ROAR’s Motion also argues that the Court overlooked language in the permitting rule (known as Rule 703) which requires that a “permit shall be denied for a special activity that would, among other things, have ‘significant adverse impact on park values, pose significant threats to the health... [or] be inconsistent with area management plans.” Rule 703(3) would have necessarily required Parks to deny the permit because of the project’s significant adverse impacts.
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Other Recent News and Legal Update
February 23, 2015: ROAR Files Docketing Statement
ROAR filed its docketing issue statement in the United States Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit in Denver, Colorado. This is the next procedural step in the ongoing appeal process in which ROAR seeks to overturn BLM's approval of Christo's Over the River project.
Federal Court Ruling: On Friday, January 2, 2015, Judge William J. Martinez (Federal District Court, Colorado) issued his opinion upholding the Bureau of Land Management's (BLM) approval of Christo's "Over the River" (OTR)Project along the Arkansas River in Bighorn Sheep Canyon.
ROAR was understandably disappointed in the court's decision to defer to BLM's approval of OTR despite the project's destructive and dangerous nature. ROAR is still reviewing the judicial opinion and considering other steps to prevent the OTR project from ever being allowed to happen, including the possibility of an appeal.
While the Court found that BLM 'technically' complied with the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) and the Federal Land Policy Management Act (FLPMA), in no way does the court dismiss the destructive nature of the Over the River project.
Note: The OTR project continues to be indefinitely delayed with no estimated start date for construction and no display date.