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Fight continues to realise Christo's Colorado River project

Two legal challenges hinder Over the River in Colorado

Christo with his design. Photo by Wolfgang Volz

The artist Christo’s long legal battle to erect Over the River in Colorado hit another roadblock when a US judge ordered that no construction of the project may proceed until a legal challenge against the work has concluded.

Two separate legal challenges against Christo’s plan to drape 5.9 miles of fabric over the Arkansas River are involved in the court’s decision. An organisation called Roar (Rags Over the Arkansas River), is seeking to thwart the installation due to environmental concerns. It filed a lawsuit earlier this year against the Bureau of Land Management, which approved plans for Over the River in Colorado in November 2011. The bureau had sought to have the suit dismissed.

Although the US district judge John Kane ordered a temporary stop on Roar's lawsuit from moving forward on 5 July, he is allowing it to continue after another legal challenge to stop the project was made. It is unknown how much time is needed to wrap up an appeal by a Colorado man unaffiliated with Roar, but until then, Judge Kane wrote in his order that the Over the River Corporation is “expected to honor the stay and commence no action on the [bureau's] November 2011 construction authorisation.”

A spokesman for Christo and the late Jeanne-Claude’s project issued a statement saying: "The order] is no indication of how the federal court will rule [in the appeal] and should not be interpreted as such.”

Over the River in Colorado received a boost in March when it was granted an important permit by a local county. The project was set back in February, however, when it was announced that it would be delayed a year and so would not be unveiled until August 2015.

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