BLM reviewing details of Christo project

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (AP) ” Artists Christo and Jeanne-Claude say they still plan to drape seven miles of the Arkansas River in fabric, though they have yet to get a maze of approvals for the project.

The artists hope to begin a two-week exhibition of “Over the River” in 2012, according to their Web site. Last year, the couple thought the exhibit might run as early as 2011.

Ken Smith, a spokesman for the U.S. Bureau of Land Management, said the BLM plans to release the roughly 2,000-page proposal for the project to the public in January. The agency will then draft an environmental impact statement, which Smith said could be completed by the fall of 2008.

The public will be given a chance to comment on it before the BLM decides whether to allow the project.

The artists have been planning the project for more than a decade. It would involve installing cables, anchors and fabric, which would be removed after the exhibit ends.

Supporters say it could attract up to 250,000 people and boost the economy.

Opponents fear traffic congestion that could drive away wildlife and hurt businesses that depend on the Arkansas River canyon.

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