December 26, 2008

What Tim DeChristopher did on his Winter Break.

Amy Goodman (click here for video with elephantjournal.com) interviewed student slash hero Tim DeChristopher—a nobody who singlehandedly blocked and/or confused the sales of kajillions of acres that Bush has been seeking to sell the drilling/ruining rights to just a month before leaving office. Excerpt:

While many environmental groups launched campaigns to oppose the sale of the land, one student in Salt Lake City attempted to block the sale by disrupting the auction itself. Twenty-seven-year-old Tim DeChristopher posed as a potential bidder and bid hundreds of thousands of dollars on parcels of the land, driving up prices and winning some 22,000 acres for himself, without any intention of paying for them.

The Bureau of Land Management must now wait over a month before it can auction off these properties, but by then the bureau will no longer be run by the Bush administration.

Tim DeChristopher was arrested Friday and is scheduled to appear in court later today. He joins us in Salt Lake City. 

Welcome to Democracy Now!, Tim DeChristopher. 

TIM DeCHRISTOPHER: Good morning, Amy. It’s great to be here. I read your book last summer and really enjoyed it. 

AMY GOODMAN: Well, thanks. Why don’t you start off by telling us what happened on Friday? What did you start off planning to do that day? Where were you? 

TIM DeCHRISTOPHER: I started off, actually, at a final exam at the university and went straight from there down to the BLM office. And I saw some protesters walking back and forth outside, and I knew that I wanted to do more than that and that this kind of injustice demanded a higher level of disruption. And so, I just decided that I wanted to go inside and cause a bigger disruption. 

And from there, I found it really easy to get inside and become a bidder, and went inside and was in the auction room. And once I was in there, I realized that any kind of speech or disruption or something like that wasn’t going to be very effective, but I saw pretty quickly that I could have a pretty major impact on the way this worked. And it just took me a little bit of time to build up the courage to do that, knowing what the consequences would be. And so, I started bidding and started driving up the prices for some of the oil companies. And throughout that time, I knew that I could be doing more and could really set aside some acres to really be protected. And so, then I started winning bids and disrupting it as clearly as I could. 

AMY GOODMAN: How does it work? You get a paddle? 

TIM DeCHRISTOPHER: Yeah. I just had a bidder paddle and just kept raising it as much as I could. 

AMY GOODMAN: And you ended up buying what? Over 22,000 acres of land? 


AMY GOODMAN: And where was this land? 

TIM DeCHRISTOPHER: Honestly, I didn’t know at the time. But now it turns out that a lot of that land was the land right around Arches National Park and in Labyrinth Canyon and Mineral Point and beautiful places like that. So it turned out pretty well. 

AMY GOODMAN: And now what are your intentions? Or first, I should ask, what was the response of the people in the room? When did they understand who you were? Or did they, at the time? …for the rest, go to Democracy Now!

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