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Tim DeChristopher urban eco warrior

Tim DeChristopherI am neither handy with a monkey-wrench, nor am I much of an outdoorsman, but when environmentalist Tim DeChristopher took the eco fight to a federal land lease auction, it was an example of disruptive activism for which I know I am qualified. There is an undisturbed comfort in thinking one person cannot make a difference, even if just in lacking for ideas how. Dare I say for most of us, now DeChristopher and Ebay have closed that loophole.

This week, Ken Salazar, the new Secretary of the Interior, moved to invalidate the Utah land-use leases which Bush & co tried to give to the extraction industries in the last minutes of his administration.

But back in December, Tim De Christopher and his fellow activists had no way of knowing that those leases would not be exploited. Tim was frustrated by the seemingly ineffectual picketing outside the Salt Lake City building where the auction was being conducted, so he went inside, where he discovered he was treated as any other potential bidder.

Democracy Now covered the story when it happened December 22, and interviewed DeChristopher again after Salazar’s action. NPR picked up the story this week, and added an interview with one of the culprits who DeChristopher had disrupted: indignant Kathleen Sgamma, director of government affairs at the Independent Petroleum Association of Mountain States.


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Comment from Marie   (IP:
Time: February 8, 2009, 12:11 am

But back in December, Tim De Christopher and his fellow activists had no way of knowing that those leases would not be exploited.

I’d like to think that Tim’s activism led Salazar to negate the leases. Rape is an ugly crime, usually done in isolation or under cover of darkness. Thanks to Tim and the media attention he received, there were far too many people ready to witness the despoliation. Salazar was just protecting himself, of course, but it’s a victory nonetheless!

Comment from John Wolfe, Moab, Utah   (IP:
Time: April 3, 2009, 3:57 pm

It is suggestive that if Interior Secretary Salazar declared the entire sale as invalid or withdrawn – then the sale must have been illegal in some way — in that case, can disrupting an illegal act be itself illegal?? Imagine you are witness to a rape in some public building — you decide that you are too weak (or too poor) to stop it but, if you pull the fire alarm with the intent of stopping the rape (by creating a commotion) — is the act of pulling the alarm illegal ……… or not?

Comment from Marie Walden   (IP:
Time: April 3, 2009, 4:31 pm

A grand jury indicted Tim DeChristopher Wednesday afternoon. He’s charged with two counts of violating the Federal Onshore Oil and Gas Leasing Act and, if convicted, faces fines up to $500,000 and up to 10 years in prison.

Tim will be on Democracy Now! tonight. For more info on Tim’s act of civil disobedience go to his website or to Peaceful Uprising at .

Edward Abbey would be proud of ya, Tim!

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