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Christo Over the River 1999
A life-size prototype test of Christo’s Over the River from 1999


Feb. 2, 2012

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Two University of Denver law students and a professor filed a new suit to halt Christo’s controversial Over the River project on behalf of the environmental group Rags Over the Arkansas River (ROAR), the Pueblo Chieftan reports.

"We are planning to vanquish the giant with the help of these great lawyers from the University of Denver," said ROAR’s Joan Anzelmo to a group of reporters at the courthouse.

The $50 million project, which Christo plans to pay for himself, involves suspending nearly six miles of luminous fabric along eight stretches of the Arkansas River. The proposal, which has been in the works for the past 13 years, originally in collaboration with the artist’s late wife, Jeanne-Claude, provoked outcry from environmental groups. Opponents of the project say that tourist traffic could hurt fishing in the area and endanger the bighorn sheep population. They also argue that screwing industrial-strength anchors into canyon walls to hold up the cloth panels will permanently damage the landscape. Still more locals just consider the artwork an all-around eyesore.

However, after conducting an $2.5-million impact study -- paid for by Christo -- the federal Bureau of Land Management approved the project last year, and the artist agreed to take extra safety precautions. It’s expected to attract 400,000 visitors and bring in $121 million in revenue.

Unless the law students find success, installation is set to begin later this year for a viewing period of two weeks in the summer of 2014.

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