Tim DeChristopher

Tara - posted on 07/27/2011 ( 8 moms have responded )




Anybody following this story?

In December of 2008, during the final hours of the George W. Bush administration, the Bushies tried to give one final gift to their pals in the oil and gas industry by auctioning off drilling rights on thousands of acres of federal land in the west, including fragile wilderness areas near Arches and Canyonlands national parks in Utah.

On the day of the auction, environmentalists protested outside the federal building in Salt Lake City, where the event was held. But Tim DeChristopher, then a 27 year-old economics student and climate activist at the University of Utah, wanted to up the ante. "This auction was a perfect example of our 'drill now, think later' energy policy," DeChristopher says. "People weren't getting it. I went into the auction with the idea of creating a little disruption, maybe making a speech and getting myself arrested."

When DeChristopher entered the building in his Carhartts, however, the person at the sign-in desk took him for one of the industry guys. "Are you here to bid?" she asked. On the spur of the moment, DeChristopher said he was. He was given an auction paddle – "Bidder 70" – and despite not having any money, he proceeded to throw a monkey wrench into the entire auction, successfully bidding on more than 22,000 acres of land worth $1.8 million, until he was finally stopped by a federal official. For this prank, DeChristopher was charged with two felony counts: one for violating the Federal Onshore Oil and Gas Leasing Reform Act by "scheming to disrupt to the auction," a second for making false statements.

Not that his antics mattered much. In the following months, many of the leases up for auction were deemed illegitimate by the Obama administration, and most of the land remains under federal protection. But that didn’t help DeChristopher. Last March, after a trial that drew crowds of protestors, he was convicted on both counts. Sentencing is set for July 26th. DeChristopher could face up to ten years in federal prison.

I spoke to him this week by phone.

How does it feel to be a convicted felon waiting to go off to federal prison?

It’s something that I’ve been expecting and preparing for for a while, so it doesn’t feel very different than before the trial. And the more I whine about it the more realistic it gets, and the more I feel like it’s something I can handle.

Do you feel like you committed a crime you should go to jail for?

No. I feel like what I did was standing in the way of a crime and the government finally admitted that that’s basically true. But I do feel like what I did was a threat to the status quo, so I understand why those in power want to put me away.

Climate of Denial: Science and Truth vs. the Merchants of Poison by Al Gore

"A threat to the status quo" – what exactly do you mean by that?

Well I’m a climate-justice activist, and I’m actively pushing for things, like a renewable-energy economy, that are a real threat to those in power today. I think we’ve tried to make our ideas palatable to those in power but it’s never really worked, because shifting away from fossil fuels is actually a threat to our current economic system and to our current political system.


He's a hero in a world of cowards. He is willing to stand up for justice when the law makers are too busy allowing illegal activities by corporate entities in exchange for big campaign contributions??
Follow the money trail... follow the green... follow the greed.


Tara - posted on 07/28/2011




Sherri, he went into an illegal oil and gas leasing auction and illegally bid and illegally won several large parcels of land for drilling purposes. He was caught and charged for making false statements etc.
But after his charges and before his sentencing the Obama Administration deemed the entire Auction and all Leases bid on at said auction to be ILLEGAL. They were trying to auction off several very large pieces of PROTECTED land. Land that is not up for lease for oil or gas drilling. Land that is set aside as exempt from gas and oil drilling.
So.... thebig Multi national corp. who staged the initial auction, the government who sanctioned it and the oil and gas companies who took part, all did so ILLEGALLY. And yet, this man is facing jail time? And yet none of the others involved face any charges at all?
Including the HUGE corporation that tried to auction off precious natural resources to illegal bidders?
They are all walking away without any repercussions for their actions.
He is going to prison because he really hurt he pride of the industry.
Disgusting to me.

Amie - posted on 07/29/2011




The Bush administration tried to auction off federally protected land.

Federally protected land is protected from (but not limited to, the list is quite clear and has different levels on what can be done and some is an across the board) oil and gas drilling (this is an across the board for federally protected land).

So the Bush administration tried to sell off FEDERALLY PROTECTED LAND, specifically to companies that would do this.

I'm unsure how anyone could not see this as illegal. It is protected for a reason.

Tara - posted on 07/29/2011




More on the story including examples of other Climate Crusaders or climate activists doing illegal things in the name of protection for the environment, all of them free and having never faced charges. Most of the crimes committed were far worse than what Tim did.
Disgusting that he is getting 2 freaking years for this shit.
What about BLM??? Why no charges?

justice Denied: Climate Change Activist Bidder 70 Sent to Prison

Thirty-year-old climate change activist, Tim DeChristopher, aka Bidder 70, was sentenced July 26 to two years in prison, three years of supervised parole and a $10,000 fine by U.S. District Judge Dee Benson. DeChristopher was immediately handcuffed by federal marshals and escorted via a side door to his cell. This 21st century Thoreau was found guilty by jury trial last spring, after not being allowed by the court and Judge Benson to tell the jury why he did what he did.

Judge Benson was under no such restrictions in court yesterday as he lectured the courtroom at length on DeChristopher’s thoughts and actions, even going so far as to quote DeChristopher from a Deseret News article. The judge was, in essence, blaming DeChristopher for bringing on his own prison sentence, in a scene reminiscent of Franz Kafka’s The Trial. Judge Benson seemed particularly disturbed by DeChristopher’s lawbreaking, which he did by placing bids in a December 2007 BLM oil-and-gas lease auction and then, in Judge Benson’s words, lying about it, when he responded in the affirmative to the BLM clerk that he was there as a bidder. That same auction was later declared to have been illegal by a different federal court and none of the parcels in contention have subsequently ever been offered.

So what, exactly, was DeChristopher’s crime? He, in fact, stated that he was there as a bidder and, upon being registered, went on to bid on numerous oil and gas lease parcels in and around Canyonlands and Arches national parks, including bids on parcels totaling $1.9 million dollars that he won. Registering as a bidder and subsequently biding at said auction is not a crime. Failure to pay for one’s bids likely is a misdemeanor of some sort, but it isn’t a lie. Where was the lie? Up to that December 2007 BLM auction, no previous delinquent or deadbeat bidder has ever been charged or prosecuted for failure to pay for their bids in a BLM auction. Why was Tim DeChristopher singled out, and subsequently charged with multiple felonies and faced with possibly 10 years in federal prison and hundreds of thousands of dollars in fines? Why Tim DeChristopher and no one else. And in fact, Tim DeChristopher did attempt to pay for his auctions bids, an offer that was rejected by the BLM. Where is the crime and what is the lie?

Down Escalante way in 2003, in Kane and Garfield counties, Kane County Sheriff Lamont Smith and County Commissioner Mark Habbeshaw, incensed by the creation of the Escalante Grand Staircase National Monument and the subsequent BLM closure of certain wilderness roads into the monument, very publicly pulled up every single BLM closure sign in their county and delivered them to BLM headquarters. Where was the BLM and federal prosecutors in this case? Why to date have no charges been filed, and why aren’t those responsible facing a federal trial and prison time for their crimes?

Along the Paria River wilderness in 2009, Commissioner Habbeshaw and state Sen. Mike Noel led an illegal protest of 120 ATV vehicles on an illegal ride into a BLM protected wilderness study area and dared BLM and federal officials to arrest them. Despite two elected officials and a hundred more citizens being involved in a very public and illegal act, to date no charges have been filed, no arrests have been made.

Also in 2009, federal agents arrested 23 people involved in pot hunting and artifacts dealing on federal lands, including some BLM lands. Dan Lacy, the brother of then-San Juan County Sheriff Mike Lacy, and a number of prominent local citizens who had been arrested previously for pot hunting, were among those arrested. All were charged with crimes in this instance and, to date, all have made plea bargains, and not one person arrested in the stolen artifacts case has spent one night in jail.

Law-breaking sheriffs, state senators, county commissioners, pot-hunting prominent citizens—not a single one of the roughly 150 law-breaking citizens have served a single day in jail for their crimes and illegal activities. Only Tim DeChristopher, who made a bid in an auction, will serve time in a federal penitentiary. Where is the justice in this, Judge Benson? Where is the sense of law in this case?

Tim DeChristopher was sent to prison on Tuesday without having been allowed to tell his jury why he did what he did. Judge Benson and the federal prosecutors saw to that. If Tim DeChristopher had been allowed to articulate his beliefs and actions in front of a jury, no jury would have convicted him. Climate change is a real threat to the planet and all of its denizens: sheriffs and pot hunters, county commissioners and wilderness destroyers, federal judges alike. Tim DeChristopher understands that time is running out and action must be taken now. We must reduce greenhouse emissions and get off carbon fuel dependence now. Salt Lake City already has some of the worst air in the nation, and it’s getting worse not better. Water is the new oil. Tim DeChristopher’s brave and long-range action on Dec. 7, 2007, at that BLM auction has spawned a new movement, Peaceful Uprising, whose slogan is “Evolution, not revolution.” It’s time for more Utahns and Americans to join them.

Other than making a martyr out of him, ultimately sending Tim DeChristopher to prison won’t make any difference. In the short term, putting a brave intelligent articulate passionate man in prison for two years, robbing him of his life for two years is a draconian hardship at best, but in the long run, his prison sentence really won’t matter. I think Tim knows this and it’s part of the reason he chose to sacrifice himself. Now it’s our turn: Stand up, speak out. In the words of another Utah martyr, Joe Hill, “Don’t mourn, organize.” Now is the time to speak out on behalf of clean air, clean water and a sustainable planet.


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Katherine - posted on 07/28/2011




One of the coolest houses out here, imo, is the house that's built into the side of a hill. The top of the hill you can see his roof coming down and at first I didn't even realize what I was looking at. After I seen it a few times (it's down the highway from us) and slowed down to actually look I realized what it was.

Those are very cool.

Amie - posted on 07/27/2011




I tend to feel the same way. I haven't heard of this though.

Where we live now, they're very big on green energy. There's always fliers in our mailbox for wind turbines, solar panels and geothermal heat. Each of the companies are local and do a fair amount around here.

We would love to be able to utilize some, if not all, of these resources at one point. The biggest obstacle in our way is the initial cost, it's not mainstream so it costs a lot. For example, our pamphlet on wind turbines to get one it would cost us about $20,000 including the installation. We don't exactly have that right now, we drained our savings to buy the acreage. If we did, we would have it. I can't remember how much to solar panels are but that depends on what kind you get, how big they are, where you want them (on the house or not), etc. Geothermal heat, the biggest cost is getting everything dug and a shaft sunk - which isn't exactly cheap.

One of the coolest houses out here, imo, is the house that's built into the side of a hill. The top of the hill you can see his roof coming down and at first I didn't even realize what I was looking at. After I seen it a few times (it's down the highway from us) and slowed down to actually look I realized what it was.

There are a lot of places out here that have solar panels up, wind turbines going, etc. I even know a few of our neighbors don't use gas to heat their houses. They supplement between powered heat and wood furnaces.

It was really neat when we moved out here to see how green this community actually is. Even our dump is under utilized because of this. A lot of people recycle, use compost bins, etc. Oh our dump also lets you drop off wood, compostables, etc. for free if you want to do so and don't want to keep it at your place. (I remember they did this in the city too).

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