ROAR Successfully Blocks OTR Forever!
February 3, 2017: ROAR Wins Final Legal Battle Against OTR & BLM
Following Christo’s January 25th announcement that he had canceled the OTR project having lost interest in it, his attorney filed a motion to dismiss ROAR’s still pending appeal in the United Stated Court of Appeals, Tenth Circuit, on “mootness.”
ROAR disagreed with the motion and initiated negotiations with the Department of Justice representing the Bureau of Land Management and Christo’s attorney.
ROAR wanted to assure in a legally binding manner that Christo, his Over the River Corporation directors, successors or assigns would never reapply for permits or authorizations for the Over the River project. Further, ROAR sought to assure that all permits with the Bureau of Land Management, the Colorado Parks Department, the Colorado Lands Board had been permanently withdrawn.
Consequently, today (Feb.3) the three parties, after agreeing to these terms negotiated by ROAR, filed a Joint Motion for Dismissal of the Appeal on the grounds of mootness and response by the appellant(ROAR) and federal appellees (BLM & OTR) to Over the River Corporation’s previous Motion to Dismiss.
Also as part of ROAR’s negotiation, the appellees (BLM and OTR Corp) agreed not oppose the request for partial vacatur. Further, the appellees (BLM and OTR Corp) agreed that, if the U.S. Court of Appeals, Tenth Circuit, does not issue a partial vacatur, they would not oppose a future motion by ROAR in federal district court seeking vacatur of the decision regarding the FLPMA issues which regards ROAR’s original lawsuit.
The Joint Motion filed today in the U.S. Court of Appeals, Tenth Circuit, includes attachments with verification from the OTR Corporation, the Bureau of Land Management, the state of Colorado affirming the cancellation of the OTR project will be permanent and all permits are withdrawn.
ROAR extends its deepest appreciation to attorney Michael Harris, Director of the Wildlife Law Program for Friends of Animals. Mr. Harris has represented ROAR in opposing the Bureau of Land Management’s approval of the OTR project with ROAR’s initial lawsuit filed on February 1, 2012 in federal district court. Mr. Harris first accepted ROAR’s case while he was Director of the Environmental Law Clinic at the University of Denver’s Sturm College of Law. During the first two and a half years of legal proceeding related to this case, eight different student attorneys assisted ROAR with its lawsuit under the direction of Mr. Harris. ROAR is grateful for the outstanding legal work of the DU student attorneys.
When ROAR initially filed the lawsuits we characterized our battle as similar to David battling Goliath. We promised that ROAR would vanquish Goliath. ROAR did that with this permanent cancellation of the Over the River project. It's a battle ROAR has fought for 18 years with unwavering support from its members in Colorado and around the world.
ROAR heartily thanks all who have supported us in so many ways throughout the years in this long process to protect all the natural beauty of Bighorn Sheep Canyon of the Arkansas River, and all its inhabitants - both wildlife and human.
Background of ROAR's ultimate lawsuit:
At the heart of the case that was just withdrawn by agreement, we believed BLM must be required to follow its own Resource Management Plan and federal law.
ROAR had alleged BLM violated the Royal Gorge Resource Management Plan and the federal protections in place for the BLM designated Area of Critical Environmental Concern within the Bighorn Sheep Canyon when it approved the OTR Project.