If nationalists in Iraqi have Muntadar al-Zeidi, environmentalists in the United States have found Tim DeChristopher, 27. DeChristopher didn’t throw hiking boots recently to stop the controversial Bush lease-off of public lands for drilling. He used a bidding paddle. DeChristopher went to the bidding and intentionally drove up prices and actually bought 10 parcels for $1.8 million to protect thousands of acres of land near Utah’s national parks. The only problem is that he is short $1.8 million. Oil and gas people are now calling for his prosecution and rebidding to get the public lands at a steal at a new U.S. Bureau of Land Management lease auction. Being a “nuisance bidder” could now result in jail time.
Environmentalists like Robert Redford have been fighting to halt the Bush Administration’s effort to open up these lands to the extraction industries.
DeChristopher stated “I decided I could be much more effective by an act of civil disobedience. There comes a time to take a stand.” The Bush Administration has been working diligently to undermine environmental laws in the final days in office ranging from relieving power plants of the duty to remove carbon dioxide to gutting the endangered species act to giving away federal land to “drill, baby, drill.” DeChristopher’s action has made him a hero to environmentalists around the world, but it may land him in jail.
The U.S. Bureau of Land Management lease auction covered 149,000 acres of public land in scenic southern and eastern Utah . DeChristopher joined protesters outside when a truly cunning idea came to him: why not go inside and bid? Obviously, Congress had failed to stop this practice despite democrats being in power. Obama just appointed as pro-extraction industry senator to be the next Interior Secretary. DeChristopher decided it was up to him.
Joining DeChristopher was a name who registered as Kent Boardman, of Salt Lake City,
His sacrifice, however, may put pressure on the Obama Administration to stop the lease off in February. He did so as bidder no. 70.
After DeChristopher’s arrest, BLM’s state deputy director for lands and minerals happily announced that they had caught a bogus bidder and that he was “on the hook to pay.” A woman working for the oil and gas industry screamed “Good, make them pay.” Well, at least someone will pay up — it certainly will not be these companies that move into pristine areas and extract a huge amount of valuable resources for a relatively tiny fee. They do, however, pay considerable contributions to Democratic and Republican members of Congress.
Some industry officials are calling for an investigation of environmental groups under a conspiracy theory, including the Southern Utah Wilderness Alliance (SUWA) which was at the event and a SUWA officials are fingered by an industry type for speaking with DeChristopher. (They deny any coordination).
There is likely to be an investigation into fraud, conspiracy to defraud and other such charges. They would have to be submitted to a grand jury, but it is possible for the Bush Administration to get an indictment under the wire before January 20th.
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11 thoughts on “Bidder No. 70: Environmentalist Stops Bush Administration Lease-Off of Pristine Land”
I like the tactic. It is possible that he didn’t think he would fool them forever, but has he done enough to delay the sales until the Obama administration takes over? I think we may be looking at President Obama’s first pardon candidate.
Guerrilla bidding. It’s a good thing.
Remaining on topic, how is it possible for people to be so occupied with greed that they would destroy wilderness beauty to achieve it? This allowance by the Bushies represents a monument to short sighted stupidity and cupidity. Saddest of all is that these leases will do nothing to ameliorate our energy problems.
It’s kind of funny they would feel that way. I’ve been to plenty of auctions here in Indiana and it’s usually the most “underdressed” person who has the deepest pockects!!
The auction company likely assumed the room was filled exclusively by regular cast of characters of environmental thugs taking advantage of the opportunity to continue their assault without interfernce. Kudos go to the guy for disrupting the process of these good old boys’ non-stop effort to willfully plunder the land, water and skies around us with the Bush administration’s blessing and assistance.
Shame on the auction company for not making sure bidders are pre-approved for the funds. This was not your typical everyday kind of auction, so you would think that they would make sure one could
either get financed or actually had cash in hand.
I would have said kudos to him had he actually had the funds. He just may have set himself up for failure, as someone he may not want to buy the property may end up doing so now!
“So these people didn’t like how he was dressed and they knew he wasn’t part of their cabal, is this a reason to remove him from the auction?”
Sure it is–it’s still Bush’s America until January.
I agree Mas and your quip under “pray to play” was great. Here’s something I find really creepy about this whole thing and I wonder if it’s legal:
” The auction had been under way for a couple of hours when energy company representatives became suspicious of a man wearing an old red down parka after he won bids on more than 10 parcels numbered consecutively, all around Arches and Canyonlands.
They told BLM officials that the man, brandishing bidding paddle No. 70 and unknown to the regular buyers, also seemed to be bidding up on parcels, raising prices on leases that others eventually won.
The auctioneer took a break and police asked the man, later identified as DeChristopher, to leave the room. After questioning him for more than an hour behind closed doors, BLM and law-enforcement officials requested assistance from the U.S. Attorney’s Office.”
So these people didn’t like how he was dressed and they knew he wasn’t part of their cabal, is this a reason to remove him from the auction?
Splendid, Marvelous, Ingenious.
Saying that you are leasing land to someone who will rip and tear and drill it is worse than ridiculous. I suppose when they’re done they’ll put it back like it was? I would rather see offshore drilling pickup than to continue to tear up viable and especially beautiful landscapes.
He jammed up the works in a way that cannot be mechanically reversed or repaired. Wonderful.
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