Tim DeChristopher is a young environmental activist facing two felony counts which stem from an action he took in December 2008. In short, DeChristopher bid $1.7 million for 22,000 acres of federal land offered for sale at a public auction; a student at the University of Utah at the time, he didn't have the money to pay for his bid, but he took took the action to protect the land from oil and gas drilling and protest the country’s energy policy. He now faces 10 years in prison and a $75,000 fine.
DeChristopher accuses the oil and gas industry of being behind his prosecution. Said DeChristopher in a recent interview:
We were making the case for selective prosecution before the indictment because we had substantial evidence that the oil industry had played a strong role. One of my attorneys got a call from an AP reporter before I was informed what the charges against me were. The journalist told my attorney, these are going to be the charges. The reporter got that information from an oil industry lobbyist. So before I knew or my attorneys knew, the oil industry knew. Why did they know before my attorneys knew?
And then, there were 25 people in the last 3 years that have won leases without being able to pay for them, who had a profit motive, and none of them have been prosecuted. It seems that they are coming down particularly hard on me.
I really hadn’t heard anything about this case; apparently Robert Redford, Naomi Klein, Bill McKibben and some other prominent Lefties have come to his defense and are trying to raise awareness.
I’m just a little confused. I’ve never participated in an auction of public land before but don’t you have to show proof of assets or something before signing up? Is there a reason why we don’t require that? DeChristopher said a BLM staffer asked him if he’d like to bid on the auction, which seems strange, and he said it was “easier than signing up on eBay.”
There’s a web page set up to support DeChristopher, called Bidder70. A march and rally to support DeChristopher have been scheduled for the day his trial begins, Feb. 28 in Salt Lake City.
I’m sure our media will ignore this story as they do so much else that’s really important. It always amazes me how we have a 24/7 TV news media and yet I'm continually reading about news which never hits their radar. It seems if it doesn't involve tricorn hats or crazy-eyed Michelle Bachmann, they're just not interested.