Christo is pleased that today the Interior Board of Land Appeals (IBLA) announced that it has upheld the Bureau of Land Management's (BLM) approval to use federal lands for Over The River. The significant public benefits of this temporary work of art proposed in 1996 by the artists Christo and Jeanne-Claude for a portion of the Arkansas River in Colorado have been well documented.
The IBLA decision stated that the BLM District Manager "approved the Project because significant, adverse short-term impacts would be minimized, significant long term impacts would be avoided by PDFs [project design features] and mitigation measures, and expected benefits to the local and regional economies would outweigh any such adverse impacts."
The panel of judges went on to say, "Having thoroughly reviewed the record and considered appellants' claims on appeal, we conclude they have not met their burden to show error in the ROD [Record of Decision] or the FEIS [Final Environmental Impact Statement] upon which it was based. ... The decision approving a land use permit is affirmed."
This decision now paves the way for the two remaining legal challenges to move forward. In federal court, the BLM's Record of Decision approving Over The River is being challenged. In state court, the permit that was granted by Colorado State Parks for Over The River is being challenged.
"This is one of three legal hurdles that needed to be overcome, and I am very happy with this decision," Christo said. "I am hopeful that the IBLA decision will enable the state and federal courts to move forward without delay so Over The River can be realized. I remain confident that the state and federal permitting processes were thorough and complete and that both the Record of Decision and the State Parks permit will be upheld."