Tuesday, December 23, 2008

A "Monkey-Wrencher/Hero" In Utah Screws Up BLM Oil and Gas Lease Auction

(This is an image from Canyonlands, in the part of the SE Utah landscape the Bushies were endeavoring to fuck up with surreptitious, "midnight" energy leases.)

Stories like this give me the will to carry on. This is environmental activism you can actually BELIEVE in: Via Huffpost (but I heard the entire interview yesterday on Democracy Now):
Tim DeChristopher Throws Utah Oil And Gas Drilling Leases Auction Into Chaos
SALT LAKE CITY — An environmental activist tainted a (controversial) auction of oil and gas drilling leases Friday by bidding up parcels of land by hundreds of thousands of dollars without any intention of paying for them, a federal official said.

The process was thrown into chaos and the bidding halted for a time before the auction was closed, with 116 parcels totaling 148,598 acres having sold for $7.2 million plus fees.

"He's tainted the entire auction," said Kent Hoffman, deputy state director for the U.S. Bureau of Land Management in Utah.

Hoffman said buyers will have 10 days to reconsider and withdraw their bids if they think they paid too much.

Tim DeChristopher, a 27-year-old University of Utah economics (grad) student, said his plan was to disrupt the auction and he feels he accomplished his goal.

DeChristopher won the bidding on 13 parcels, auction records show, and drove up the price of several other pieces of land.

"I thought I could be effective by making bids, driving up prices for others and winning some bids myself," the Salt Lake City man said.

Some bidders said they were forced to bid thousands of dollars more for their parcels, while others fumed that they lost their bids.
Guerrilla action against the system pay dividends. The guy finished his last final and then went down town to fuck up the lease auction. He was able to get in, he says, because the Busheviks, being in such a hurry to get the leases done before the Obama transition comes into effect, lowered some of their usual vetting procedures, making it possible for DeChristopher to get a bidder paddle.

Grist calls DeChristopher "The Last Auction Hero," a title he richly deserves.
At a federal auction for oil and gas leases in Utah last week, environmental activist Tim DeChristopher posed as a buyer, successfully bidding up lease prices on BLM land by hundreds of thousands of dollars and winning 13 parcels that he admits he can't actually pay for. The BLM is giving the other (real) bidders 10 days to decide if they want to withdraw their bids on the parcels they won at inflated prices. Some bidders indicated they would likely hold on to their leases despite the increased price since the incoming Obama administration may not offer the same leases again.
The 'suits' are out for the guy's head, of course. You may fuck with anything in Murka except MONEY. And the UofU has been silent so far about his fate there. But DeChristopher credits his UofU profs for inspiring his action (see the Democracy Now transcript).

I expect THESE GUYS to stay on top of the shit that's gonna rain down on the this environmental hero. They've already got up a page to collect for his legal expenses.And I, for one, will happily donate the price of my next bottle of scotch to his defense.

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