Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Why Bidder70, Tim DeChristopher, Went to Prison

I wrote about Tim September 1st, 2011, early in his jail term, in a post titled: "Tim DeChristopher. . . A Citizen With True Grit."  

Tim has now served his time for disrupting the (some say illegal) gas and oil lease auction on over 100,000 acres of Utah wilderness back in the final days of the Bush Administration.

Being allowed to sign up for the auction, Tim became bidder number 70 and proceeded to "purchase" leases to 22,000 acres with 13 winning bids at a cost of 1.8 million US dollars he did not have.  

 As a result of the turmoil Tim's actions triggered, the Obama Administration did a review of the highly controversial midnight sale and ultimately Interior Secretary Salazar nullified the auction leases... 
which were located near Arches and Canyonlands Nat'l Park, Desolation Canyon, Dinosaur Nat'l Monument and Nine Mile Canyon.

Tim is ready to move on with his life and plans to attend divinity school.  However, the environmental movement hasn't heard the last of him given the organization called bidder70.org - which developed around defending him during the early days and is now continuing in the bigger struggle of helping raise public awareness.

In particular, their new documentary: 
"Bidder 70: this is what hope looks like" 

Below is a thoughtful interview with Bill Moyer and then some links to other relevant stories.

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Why Time DeChristopher
Went to Prison for His Protest
By Bill MoyersMoyers & Company | Interview and Video  |  Saturday, 25 May 2013 10:33

(Photo: Linh Do / Flickr)

"In December 2008, during the closing weeks of the Bush White House, 27-year-old environmental activist Tim DeChristopher went to protest the auction of gas and oil drilling rights to more than 150,000 acres of publicly-owned Utah wilderness. 

But instead of yelling slogans or waving a sign, DeChristopher disrupted the proceedings by starting to bid. Given an auction paddle designating him “Bidder 70”, DeChristopher won a dozen land leases worth nearly two million dollars. He was arrested for criminal fraud, found guilty, and sentenced to two years in federal prison — even though the new Obama Administration had since declared the oil and gas auction null and void.

DeChristopher — who was released less than a month ago — joins Bill to talk about the necessity of civil disobedience in the fight for justice, how his jury was ordered to place the strict letter of the law over moral conscience, and the future of the environmental movement. Bidder 70, a new documentary chronicling DeChristopher’s legal battle and activism, opened May 17. DeChristopher is co-founder of the grassroots environmental group Peaceful Uprising. . . "

May 22, 2013 

May 17, 2013

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"At this point of unimaginable threats on the horizon, this is what hope looks like.  In these times of a morally bankrupt government that has sold out its principles, this is what patriotism looks like.  With countless lives on the line, this is what love looks like, and it will only grow..."   - Tim DeChristopher 
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Abe Streep  |  outside magazine  |  THURSDAY, OCTOBER 27, 2011
Before the Tar Sands protests and before Occupy Wall Street, a young activist named Tim DeChristopher disrupted a federal oil- and gas-lease auction. The act made him a martyr for a newly radicalized environmental movement—and landed him in prison. This is his story.

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"Democracy Now" news hour

shows featuring Tim DeChristopher

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Tim DeChristopher Is a Free Man

The climate activist on his prison stay and the future of the fight

   |  RollingStone  |  April 22, 2013 

There are worse ways for a climate activist to celebrate getting out of jail than speaking to a packed theater of comrades and supporters. 

Tonight, that's how Tim DeChristopher will publically mark his release from two years of state custody, spread over four states and five institutions – from the isolation wings of federal prisons to the halfway house he left yesterday. Following an address that will represent DeChristopher's public return to grassroots climate activism, Salt Lake City's Tower Theater will screen Bidder 70, a documentary about his 2009 trial. Both the talk and the screening will be live-streamed to 50 theaters around the country.   


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