Arches National Park
From the Salt Lake Tribune
Excepts from the article by Patty Henetz:
He didn’t pour sugar into a bulldozer’s gas tank. He didn’t spike a tree or set a billboard on fire. But wielding only a bidder’s paddle, a University of Utah student just as surely monkey-wrenched a federal oil- and gas-lease sale Friday, ensuring that thousands of acres near two southern Utah national parks won’t be opened to drilling anytime soon.
Tim DeChristopher, 27, faces possible federal charges after winning bids totaling about $1.8 million on more than 10 lease parcels that he admits he has neither the intention nor the money to buy — and he’s not sorry.
“I decided I could be much more effective by an act of civil disobedience.”
Book Cliffs, Utah
…he came to the BLM’s state office in Salt Lake City to join about 200 other activists in a peaceful protest outside the building Friday morning. But then he registered with the BLM as representing himself and went to the auction room.
There, he thought about the times he has marched, fired off letters to his congressmen, signed petitions and supported environmental organizations — all to no avail.
“What the environmental movement has been doing for the past 20 years hasn’t worked,” DeChristopher said.
…The auction had been under way for a couple of hours when energy company representatives became suspicious of a man wearing an old red down parka after he won bids on more than 10 parcels numbered consecutively, all around Arches and Canyonlands…the man, brandishing bidding paddle No. 70 and unknown to the regular buyers, also seemed to be bidding up on parcels, raising prices on leases that others eventually won.
DeChristopher, who acknowledged upping other bids by about $500,000, said he would be willing to go to jail to defend his generation’s prospects in light of global climate disruption and other environmental threats.
Since the Election Day announcement of the lease sale, preservationists, conservationists, archaeologists, business owners, river runners, anglers and hunters have registered objections to the BLM’s plans to allow drilling in some of Utah’s most scenic redrock desert.
Desolation Canyon, Utah
They challenged proposed leases near Arches National Park, the White River, the greater Desolation Canyon region, Labyrinth Canyon, the benches east of Canyonlands National Park, Nine Mile Canyon, the Book Cliffs and the Deep Creek Mountains.
Objections also have come from the National Park Service, members of Congress and John Podesta, the head of President-elect Barack Obama’s transition team, who said the lease sale should be halted or altered to accommodate environmental concerns.
…BLM official Terry Catlin said the agency didn’t want to reopen the bidding on the parcels DeChristopher snagged unless all interested parties were able to compete for the leases. That means the parcels won’t be available again until at least February — after Obama takes office — during the next scheduled auction.
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