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Utah BLM oil & gas sell-out— do your part.
Land auction monkeywrencher has a new plan
Fundraising » DeChristopher hopes to run out the clock
By Patty Henetz
The Salt Lake Tribune
Updated: 12/31/2008 07:14:17 PM MST
The University of Utah student who foiled a federal oil and gas lease auction the Friday before Christmas hopes he can buy time for Utah's scenic redrock desert -- and himself -- until the Bush administration is out the door.
Tim DeChristopher announced Wednesday afternoon that he would pay the U.S. Bureau of Land Management $45,000 to hold the 13 lease parcels he won in a Dec. 19 sale. His aim is to fend off drilling at least until President-elect Barack Obama takes office and new officials are in charge of the federal Interior Department and Bureau of Land Management.
"This would be the most effective way of ensuring we could protect the land at least until the new administration came in," DeChristopher said.
The 27-year-old economics major faces possible federal felony charges after winning bids totaling about $1.8 million on 13 lease parcels that he admitted he had neither the intention nor the money to pay for.
But since committing what he called an act of civil disobedience, DeChristopher has heard from hundreds of individuals around the country willing to chip in to keep drill rigs off the land and DeChristopher out of prison.
So far, would-be benefactors have pledged $14,000, he said. DeChristopher, his lawyers and other advisers reckoned that if there were a specific reason for the fundraising, rather than just an ill-defined defense fund, enough money would roll in to allow him to write a $45,000 check to the BLM within the next couple of weeks.
"If I follow through on purchasing the leases, it makes it simply a question of my intent in opposing what I thought was a fraudulent auction," DeChristopher said.
The amount is based on a percentage of the $1.8 million; the agency requires such payments of all bidders to hold their parcels. Three Web sites have been set up to take pledges: www.wateradvocacy.org; oneutah.org; www.bidder70.org.
Full story at: Land auction monkeywrencher has a new plan - Salt Lake Tribune
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