As the majority of writers on Eco Child’s Play are parents of young children, we often focus our posts to this age group; however, green parenting is not only for the young. What happens when our green children grow up and go to college? Maybe they will grow up to be an activist like Tim DeChristopher and block the sale of public land for oil and gas drilling.
An environmental activist threw “into chaos” the Bureau of Land Management auction of leases on federal lands for oil and gas development recently approved by outgoing president George Bush. The sale has been characterized by the Natural Resources Defense Council as a “Midnight Land Sale” of 110,000 acres near Arches and Canyonlands National Parks, Dinosaur National Monument, and Nine Mile Canyon. The auction on Friday was disrupted by a bidder who “tainted the entire auction” by bidding the price up on several parcels of land by hundreds of thousand of dollars with no real intention of paying for the bids.
DeChristopher was arrested after he “bought” 22,000 acres and now faces two felony charges and ten years in prison for his activism. Last Wednesday, US Attorney Brett Tolman indicted DeChristopher, which includes a $750,000 fine if he is found guilty. The indictment came as a complete surprise to activists, who thought that since the Obama administration nullified the public land sale charges against DeChristopher would be dropped. DeChristopher explains:
I was somewhat surprised by that. We didn’t really see it coming, and we thought that – that since the Salazar decision had pretty much decided that this was an unjust and inappropriate auction, that they weren’t following their own rules, we had figured that they would probably just want to sweep this case away rather than have us kind of discover all the rules that weren’t followed in this case and all the corruption and manipulation involved in this auction. And so, I was pretty surprised that the US attorney’s office moved on this case and is now pushing it to trial. Yes, yes. All the parcels that I bid on were part of that decision, so all of those were nullified. That’s why we had raised the funds to actually make the payments on there and offer that payment to the BLM, but they weren’t able to accept that because of the Salazar decision, because it was all invalidated. And I think that they made that decision because they saw all the rules that the BLM didn’t follow in this case, that they didn’t give this auction the due process that it deserved. And so, I saw that really as an official ruling that what I was standing against was something illegal and unjust, and so I was surprised that they still wanted to prosecute me for my opposition to that unjust procedure.
The two charges against DeChristopher are making a false statement to the government and violating the Federal Onshore Oil and Gas Leasing Reform Act.
As a mother, I would be proud of a son like DeChristopher who stood up for what he believed in, but I wouldn’t want my child to be convicted of felonies or serve time in a federal prison. I wish DeChristopher the best in his legal battle with the US government. You can make donations for his legal defense at bidder70.org.