Recent News and Updates
July 3, 2016: Denver Post - Opinion Guest Column Christo's Floating Piers Project in Italy is a Warning to Colorado
by Michael Harris, ROAR's Attorney & Director Wildlife Law Program, Friends of Animals
Earlier News and Updates:
April 25, 2016: ROAR filed a lawsuit against the BLM in United States District Court for the District of Columbia.
ROAR filed this administrative lawsuit against the BLM for not responding to a FOIA (Freedom of Information Act) request regarding renewal of the OTR 2920 permit for the OTR project, particularly as there had been no public notice of the permit renewal.
ROAR has exhausted all the administrative remedies to receive the information we requested from BLM in the spring of 2015. First, we made the request directly with the BLM Royal Gorge Office in Canyon City. We were referred to the BLM State Office in Denver. Then we were informed we needed to file a FOIA for the information we had requested. We did. The response from BLM did not include the documents we had requested and most documents were fully redacted (blacked out). So then we filed a FOIA appeal with BLM and the Department of the Interior.
There are specific timeframes required by the FOIA law for agencies to respond. BLM has never responded to our FOIA appeal- not at all. Consequently, ROAR filed the April 8 administrative lawsuit in the United States District Court for the District of Columbia, which is the court with jurisdiction on these kinds of cases.
Read our FOIA appeal complaint as filed. Note that Pages 8 thru 10 include the key points: "Causes of Action and Remedies Sought."
UPDATE:, ROAR is still waiting for the ruling of the United States Court of Appeals, Tenth Circuit, regarding our original lawsuit against BLM for approving the OTR project. It is hard to predict when we might get that ruling, but we will advise you as soon as we know.
At the heart of that case, we believe BLM must be required to follow its own Resource Management Plan and federal law.
ROAR alleges BLM violated the Royal Gorge Resource Management Plan and the federal protections in place for the BLM designated Area of Critical Environmental Concern within the Bighorn Sheep Canyon when it approved the OTR Project. We are hopeful the appellate judges with the United States Court of Appeals, Tenth Circuit, will agree with ROAR's argument and require BLM to amend the Royal Gorge Management Plan and negate the previous approval until a new plan is completed.
On November 18, 2015, ROAR presented oral arguments before the United States Court of Appeals in its case against the Bureau of Land Management's (BLM) 2011 approval of Christo's Over the River project. In its appeal, ROAR argued that the Over the River project proposed by Christo cannot be found to meet the consistency requirement of the Federal Land Policy and Management Act (FLPMA).
Note: The OTR project continues to be indefinitely delayed with no estimated start date for construction and no display date.
Previous Federal Actions
April 6, 2015: ROAR Filed an Appeal in U.S. Federal District Court:
District 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.
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.