Today is Earth Day and the fight to protect our environment continues with a focus on global climate change, stopping fracking and the KeystoneXL pipeline that will carry the dirtiest oil on earth across the US. One of the heroes of the fight against the oil industries’ zeal to drill for oil on public lands, is environmental activist Tim DeChristopher has been released from custody after serving 21 months in federal prison.
DeChristopher was arrested after an attempt to buy more than 22,000 acres of land in a 2008 oil and gas lease auction. His act of civil disobedience (done while he was still enrolled at the University of Utah) led to charges of making false statements and violating the Federal Onshore Oil and Gas Leasing Reform Act. He was sentenced to two years in prison and a $10,000 fine.
The auction was later negated and leases revoked after the Obama administration found that the land should have never even gone up for sale.
His trial lasted for over two years and his lawyers weren’t allowed to use a defense that his actions were a lesser evil than allowing for oil and gas development and environmental harm. [..]
A documentary about his trial, “Bidder 70,” will be screened around the country on Monday in celebration of Earth Day. DeChristopher will make his first public appearance at a screening and Q-and-A in Salt Lake City, which will be streamed over the Internet at 9 p.m. EDT on April 22.
Tim was interviewed today by Amy Goodman on Democracy Now
In a Democracy Now! exclusive on Earth Day, climate change activist Tim DeChristopher joins us for his first interview since being released from federal custody after serving 21 months in detention. DeChristopher was convicted of interfering with a 2008 public auction when he disrupted the Bush administration’s last-minute move to sell off oil and gas exploitation rights in Utah. He posed as a bidder and won drilling lease rights to 22,000 acres of land in an attempt to save the property from oil and gas extraction. The auction itself was later overturned and declared illegal, a fact that DeChristopher’s defense attorneys were prevented from telling the jury. His case is the subject of the documentary, “Bidder 70,” which will screen all over the country today to mark his release and Earth Day. The founder of the climate justice group Peaceful Uprising, Tim DeChristopher joins us to discuss his ordeal, his newfound freedom, and his plans to continue his activism in the climate justice movement.
Transcript can be read here.