Law Students Sue To Stop 'Over The River' Art Project

Artist Christo Plans To Cover Sections Of Arkansas River

A group of law students at the University of Denver are planning to file a lawsuit on Wednesday to stop Christo's "Over The River" art project.

Christo plans to use a system of anchors, frames and cables to suspend 5.9 miles of fabric across eight spots along a 42-mile stretch of the Arkansas River. The construction is anticipated to begin in 2012, culminating in a two-week display in August 2014.

The students in the Environmental Law Clinic at the University of Denver Sturm College of Law are filing the lawsuit on behalf the grassroots, all-volunteer organization Rags Over the Arkansas River (ROAR).

The group opposes the industrial-scale art project, citing environmental issues and dangers to the residents and visitors to the area, according to a news release from DU.

In November, the Bureau of Land Management approved the art project.

"After careful consideration of the potential impact to the Arkansas River and the wildlife and plants that inhabit this beautiful area, we believe that steps have been taken to mitigate the environmental effects of this one-of-a-kind project," said Interior Secretary Ken Salazar. "Drawing visitors to Colorado to see this work will support jobs in the tourism industry and bring attention to the tremendous outdoor recreation opportunities in this area."

Over The River is estimated to generate $121 million in economic output and draw 400,000 visitors during construction and display.

The art project is expected to cost $50 million. The project will be paid for by Christo, through the sale of his drawings, collages, scale models, lithographs and early works from the 1950s and 1960s. Christo's website site said there would be no sponsor and the materials would be recycled.

Christo will be required to put several mitigation measures into place for bighorn sheep, anglers, drivers, boaters and birds.

Christo first proposed the project 13 years ago.

The lawsuit will be filed by DU student lawyers Mason Brown and Justine Shepherd. Their work will be overseen by attorney and professor Michael Harris.

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