ROAR Disappointed in Court’s Decision, Weighing Further Appeal Options

edited February 2015 in General

February 12, 2015
Contact: Joan Anzelmo 307-699-3688

ROAR Disappointed in Court’s Decision / Weighing Further Appeal Options

Rags Over the Arkansas River (ROAR), the Colorado based all-volunteer organization opposing Christo's industrial scale Over the River (OTR) project is understandably disappointed in the appellate court’s decision.

The Court of Appeals today found that the Colorado State Parks board violated its own regulations when it approved the Over the River project, but then concluded that this violation did not matter and ultimately upheld the State's approval of the project. Because the State did not follow its own process, many citizens in Fremont and Chaffee counties were not able to present their views and facts to the State before its decision, and thus have not yet been heard by their government.

ROAR respectfully disagrees with the Court that denying legally prescribed processes to its citizens is acceptable.

We are carefully reviewing the opinion and considering our options with our legal counsel including the potential of a further appeal.

ROAR first filed its lawsuit against the Colorado Parks Board on July 22, 2011. In the suit ROAR alleged that the Colorado Parks Board violated Colorado statutes when it issued a Memorandum, of Agreement to Christo’s OTR Corporation instead of evaluating the project as a “Special Activity” as required by Colorado’s land and water regulations.

ROAR extends its deep appreciation to attorneys Connie Rogers, Geoff Klingsporn, R. Kirk Mueller and Maeve Gassaway with the Davis Graham & Stubbs law firm, who have generously donated their time to represent ROAR in its suit against the Colorado Parks Board.

Background Info:

ROAR has worked non-stop for nearly seventeen years to prevent Christo from being permitted to construct his OTR project in Bighorn Sheep Canyon and along the Arkansas River, now a Gold Medal designated river. ROAR believes that public lands should not be used in ways that prevent the public from freely using them for the purposes they were set aside for.

Additionally ROAR has repeatedly detailed its concerns regarding emergency access for the 5000 plus residents who live in the proposed OTR project area and for the many thousands who travel on US Highway 50 every day.

ROAR has also sounded the alarm about the anticipated impacts to countless species of wildlife, birds and fish should the OTR project ever be permitted to proceed including negative outcomes for bighorn sheep, bald eagles and native fish.

ROAR's work has successfully halted the OTR project to date. ROAR will continue to work to prevent the OTR project from ever being constructed in Bighorn Sheep Canyon and along the Gold Medal designated Arkansas River.


  • ROAR shot themselves in the foot by publishings so many claims that were inflated to scales bordering on lies and fairy tails, totally discrediting the organization and obscuring any real issues they may have. For example; fabric falling into the river could create a dam so large that it would flood Canon City when it burst. Please show me the physics and engineering that supports that. Or how about their comparison of the number of anchor holes to be drilled to the number of oil wells drilled in the state? That's not apples and oranges, that apples and bowling balls. Even in this published statement they try to use crafty word smithing with the term "industrial scale Over the River. I should look that one up and see what measurements define an industrial scale art project.
    Fifteen years ago I sat on the fence and watched this unfold without an interest in choosing sides. After years of watching ROAR try to create fear and hate with illogical claims and doing anything they can to drag this out in the court system I have firmly planted myself on Christo's side. ROAR and others have abused our legal and permitting systems in their attempt to stop it, which is a bigger travesty than drilling holes for a temporary installation along a river that has been channeled, blasted and pushed around for more than a century by the railroad on river left and the road on river right.
    It's time to move on, there are simply no teeth behind the ROAR you hear.

  • Have no idea where you came up with the tarps in the river causing a dam, while both creative and inventive, was never an idea furthered by ROAR.

    The comparison you later point out was a point ROAR brought up. It is industrial scale, massive industrial construction, using the very same equipment which is used to drill for oil and gas, an activity which is prohibited in Bighorn Sheep Canyon. No oil and gas drilling, but Christo wants to drill 8992 drill holes for anchors, in an area that specifically prohibits that activity. Why is this area closed to drilling you ask? Because the DOW believes it would harm one of the few remaining indigenous Bighorn Sheep herds remaining in the state. Drilling rigs are drilling rigs whether the hole they drill is for energy extraction or anchors that are on average 20 feet long. What Bowling balls have to do with this is lost on me.

    DEIS Table 3-65 lists 432 Fishing Industry employees in the Project Area counties of Chaffee and Fremont.

    DEIS Table 3-67 lists 103 Hunting Industry employees in the Project Area counties of Chaffee and Fremont.

    That’s 535 permanent total Project Area employees just for hunting and fishing compared to OTR’s temporary 350 (289 plus additional 61 added during Exhibition phase only).

    OTR’s total project revenue estimates for the entire state of Colorado is $195 Million. Chaffee and Fremont counties are estimated to receive 8% of that, or $15.6 million.

    Economic impact in the project area counties from hunting and fishing alone totaled $50.2M in 2007. This compares to OTR estimated revenue to the same project area of $15.6M over 3 years. Economic impact to the state was $1.7 Billion in a single year, compared to OTR’s estimate of $195M over three years.

    That comparison only includes hunting and fishing. These recreation figures do not include other project area activities such as skiing, bicycling, OHVs, kayaking (mentioned in DEIS text but not in rafting’s calculated economics).

    The DEIS economic tables show a staggering difference between OTR’s estimated revenues (DEIS Ch. 4.14.2 and, p. 4-117) versus even one segment of the Project Area’s economy. Why would any agency even consider moderately or significantly injuring long-term, permanent income streams for a temporary, non-conforming project when the payoff promises drastically less in tangible benefits?

    So please, tell me again how these statements are illogical, or designed to create fear and hate. Facts my friend, nothing but facts.

    At the end of your missive, you seem to further the notion that simply because the river corridor isn't "pristine" that it should be further trashed. It shouldn't be a surprise to you that I don't agree with that thought.

    It also probably would come as no surprise to you that unlike yourself, I live in the canyon, and will bear the brunt of the OTR project for 3 years if by some quirk of fate its approved, while you stay in Salida, and will only hear about the problems we will be forced to deal with on a daily basis, for 3 years...

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