Posted by: JohnnyRook | January 6, 2009

Student Who Stopped Auction of Public Lands Needs Our Help

Back on December 22, 2008 I wrote about Tim DeChristopher who saved the gas and oil rights on over 22,000 acres near Utah’s Arches and Canyonlands National Parks from being auctioned off by the BLM to oil and gas exploration companies.

Hayduke Lives: Tim DeChristopher’s Heroic Act of Creative Civil Disobedience

Tim became an instant hero for his heroic act of civil disobedience, but he was also detained by federal authorities and faces legal action for “fraudulent bidding”. At the time I reported the story many of you expressed interest in raising the 1.8 million dollars that Tim needs to pay for the rights he won (it works out to about $57 per acre.

I am now excited to report that Tim has decided to try and pay off the leases thus “legitimizing” his bids. He needs to raise $45,000 by January 9th in order to make the initial payment. So far he has raised over $37,000, but remaining time is short. Surely, we can raise the remaining $8,000 on this web site alone.

Below you can read Tim’s letter in which he explains his decision and asks for help. Please click on the donate button and give as generously as you can.

Here is Tim’s letter:

Donate at

As you may have already heard, on December 19th I chose to disrupt the BLM oil and gas auction through an act of civil disobedience by bidding against participating oil & gas companies. I ended up “winning” the leases for 22,500 acres of beautiful land near Moab. You can find more details at

The tremendous support I’ve received in response to my action was unexpected and utterly inspiring. Hundreds of people have contributed over $10,000 to my legal defense and to the $45,000 bond obligation for the leases. And countless others have expressed their solidarity and support for the long American tradition of meaningful civil disobedience.

In addition to the moving effect on me, this support has also opened up the real possibility of paying off the leases which I “won”. The initial payment on this, required to secure the land, is around $45,000. After a good deal of struggling over this choice, I have decided to raise the money to secure the leases. With much advice from my legal team, it has become clear to me that making the down payment on the leases is the best way to protect the land until we can restore open, transparent and democratic procedures for determining the fate of valuable public lands.

It is still unclear how the new administration will deal with this inappropriate auction and the disruption I caused to it, but I can only hope the President Obama follows through on his promise for a transparent government. Until then I will make sure that no drilling or development happens on this land, and for that I need your help. This is an opportunity for all of us to make a clear statement of how much we care for our land, our climate and participatory democracy.

Please donate to help protect these 22,500 acres of wilderness (and reduce the chance of prison for me). Together we can protect this land and show that we are all willing to make the sacrifices necessary for a livable future.

Please forward this email on to as many people as you can and continue to spread the word of the need for critical action. Thank you for being a part of protecting the future for all of us.


Tim DeChristopher

Related post:

Amy Goodman Interviews Tim DeChristopher on Democracy Now!

Donate at

Crossposted at Daily Kos



  1. I’m really interested in further research on using fake bids to disrupt auctions. While the effort to lease these lands might end up meaning that Tim’s bids were not “fake,” I’d still like to encourage this behavior as a form of civil disobedience by teaching the history of this economic protest. I have heard that during the great depression, farmers would bid pennies on the dollar at the auctions of their neighbor’s farms, and “forcibly” remove anyone who tried to bid higher.

    What I was able to gather so far is available at my KOS diary on the subject:

    Thanks, JR.

    • Thanks Scott,

      I’ll check out your diary and if come across any more information, I’ll be sure to get in touch. JR

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