Opponents ask court to stop Christo’s river art installation

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Opponents ask court to stop Christo’s river art installation

DENVER - Residents fighting the artist Christo’s dream of draping fabric over the Arkansas River in southern Colorado asked a federal appeals court on Wednesday to throw out permission for the artwork it considers an “industrial scale project’’ that could harm the environment.

The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) signed off on the “Over the River” project, which calls for 6 miles of translucent fabric panels to be installed along 42 miles of the river. The work would take about two years to install and would be on display for two weeks, when it’s expected to attract thousands of visitors.

The lawyer for the opponents group told a three-judge panel at the 10th District Court of Appeals that the BLM violated its own plans for protecting what has been designated as an environmentally sensitive area in approving a project that would require thousands of holes and anchor pads to be drilled in the canyon.

The agency’s lawyer acknowledged that BLM’s analysis found the project could have a moderate impact on bighorn sheep but said Christo would be required to provide monitoring of the animals and other kinds of mitigation to compensate for possible impacts from the installation. She also said the project would draw visitors to enjoy the area.

The case is the last pending legal hurdle facing Christo’s project, which he and his late wife Jeanne-Claude first proposed in 1996.

The judges aren’t expected to issue a ruling for months.

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