I'll Take Drilling Rights for 1.8 Million

Here’s an interesting civil disobedience story.

Many spoke out when the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) announced in November an auction to allow oil and gas drilling in some of Utah’s most scenic public land, including near Arches and Canyonlands National Parks.

Fed up, University of Utah student Tim DeChristopher attended the controversial auction on December 19, bidding against oil and gas company representatives. He ended up being the winning bid for 13 leases to more than 22,500 acres of prime public land near Moab, for the whopping (or maybe bargain) price of $1.8 million.

But, since the 27-year-old economics major had no intention of actually buying the leases, let alone 1.8 million dollars to do so, the bids were illegal and DeChristopher now faces possible federal felony charges.

So, he’s launched a website—www.bidder70.org—to help raise $45,000 by tomorrow, January 9, so he can pay the bond obligation and take ownership of the leases. The total raised was $41,271 as of January 7.

For more info: www.bidder70.org

Via SNEWS: www.snewsnet.com/cgi-bin/snews/13698.html (suscription required)


Filed under: People & Organizations

Comments

mikekey
19 reviewer rep
160 forum posts
January 8, 2009 at 4:52 p.m. (EST)

Honestly, I saw open up this country for drilling. Environmentalism does more harm to the average american citizen. Exxon donated millions to protesters who protested them drilling in Alaska. Odd? Not when you think about it, keeps us dependent on their resources over-seas where it's cheaper and they don't have the same environmental laws. It also keeps them at the top. Opening up the US would mean more companies could par-take, bringing down prices. Which would be good, but would also end the monopoly. Oil is a commodity and when there is a lot of it, the price goes down. Their used to be dozens of oil companies, but today only a few, they have all merged into mega corporations.

We really do have the means to drill safely and cleanly here in the US, but certain geo-political forces don't want that, they want to maintain control, and they will even use the guise of environmentalism to maintain that control.

Good example of that is Cap & Trade and the Carbon Tax proposals. When you look at those in depth, you see me and you being punished for light bulbs while corporations can dump pollution right into your public drinking supply.

mikekey
19 reviewer rep
160 forum posts
January 8, 2009 at 4:59 p.m. (EST)

But in all honesty, good stand against the government. I seriously believe we need more peaceful civil disobedience. This proved a good point. I feel like we are already moving towards an Orwellian nightmare in this nation.

tbastress
32 reviewer rep
119 forum posts
January 9, 2009 at 11:18 a.m. (EST)

Paying for the land is just his first hurdle. He will owe property tax, unless he donates it back to a non-profit org.

trouthunter
MODERATOR REVIEW CORPS
998 reviewer rep
3,475 forum posts
January 10, 2009 at 3:40 p.m. (EST)

I am surprised DeChristopher did not have to provide proof (like a financial statement from a bank) of his ability to pay off on his bid before the auction. That is quite often a prerequisite for bidding in higher priced auctions.
He may well have had good intentions, but what he did was fraudulent, period.

mikekey
19 reviewer rep
160 forum posts
January 10, 2009 at 7:51 p.m. (EST)

I am surprised DeChristopher did not have to provide proof (like a financial statement from a bank) of his ability to pay off on his bid before the auction. That is quite often a prerequisite for bidding in higher priced auctions.
He may well have had good intentions, but what he did was fraudulent, period.

It's the government, do they check anything?

Alicia
TRAILSPACE STAFF
588 reviewer rep
3,024 forum posts
January 10, 2009 at 8:05 p.m. (EST)

He raised the first $45,000, but now has to see if BLM will even accept it. Here's DeChristopher's letter from yesterday:
http://www.bidder70.org/articles/view/136621/

If he decided to raise the full amount, I suspect he would donate it to a non-profit conservation group of some sort, but I don't think that's necessarily his end goal.

I think he wanted to delay the auction and the transfer of the public land until the Obama Administration takes over. He's basically buying time.

I also was surprised that someone could go to an auction like that without showing proof of funds. I doubt that will be the case in the future.

Whether or not you agree with DeChristopher's motives, I think it was a pretty ingenious move.

RockyMountainMark
2 reviewer rep
3 forum posts
January 27, 2009 at 6:50 p.m. (EST)

I was proud to learn that Tim has close ties to my home town. Both Tim's mom and I call Buena Vista, CO home. Way to go Tim! You did what more of us should have. Congratulations on the success of your fund-raising on your web site. Your bold actions would make Ed Abby proud.

Alicia
TRAILSPACE STAFF
588 reviewer rep
3,024 forum posts
January 28, 2009 at 9:27 a.m. (EST)

For anyone looking for an update, I read the following on the Outdoor Industry Association site:

Court Halts Oil and Gas Lease Sale in Utah Wildlands

A Utah court has barred the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) from issuing oil and gas leases on more than 110,000 acres of Utah wild lands. The court sided with a coalition of environmental groups in issuing the restraining order which prevents the BLM from cashing checks on the leases that were sold at a sale last month.

The court found that the conservation groups "have shown a likelihood of success on the merits" and that the "'development of domestic energy resources' … is far outweighed by the public interest in avoiding irreparable damage to public lands and the environment." The merits of the case will be heard later in 2009.

The contested areas near Arches and Canyonlands National Parks, Dinosaur National Monument and Nine Mile Canyon include lands that contain the nation's greatest density of ancient rock art and other cultural resources. These lands were recently opened to oil drilling through resource management plans that have serious ramifications for three million acres of public lands in Utah.

OIA joined other groups in protesting both the lease sales and the final management plans which failed to strike an appropriate balance between energy extraction and protecting lands for recreation.

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