Arches National Park
The Bush Administration has been trying to ram through auction of 149,000 acres (232 square miles) of public lands in southern and eastern Utah without public comment or an Environmental Impact Statement, and in direct opposition to officials at Arches National Park and Cayonlands National Park which borders the BLM land.
The good news is that the kleptocracy that is Bureau of Land Management under George W. Bush was moving so fast they forgot to make sure bidders at this public land sale were actually bonded.
Canyonlands National Park
The result: a 27-year old student was able to derail one of the biggest public lands auctions in U.S. history, and by so doing preserve the integrity of two of our most beautiful National Parks.
From The Salt Lake Tribune
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," he said during an impromptu streetside news conference during an afternoon blizzard. "There comes a time to take a stand."
The Sugar House resident -- questioned and released after disrupting a U.S. Bureau of Land Management lease auction of 149,000 acres of public land in scenic southern and eastern Utah -- said 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. "It's time for a conflict. There's a lot at stake."
DeChristopher won the bidding on 13 parcels, totaling 22,500 acres of land around Arches and Canyonlands Natioal Parks but then announced he could only afford to pay for a few of those acres.
"He's tainted the entire auction," said Kent Hoffman, deputy state director for the U.S. Bureau of Land Management in Utah.
Which is surely Good News!
Now the parcels of land cannot be sold until after Barack Obama takes office, and so they are unlikely to ever be sold without public comment, an Environmental Impact Statement, and the expressed authorization of the U.S. Park Service which oversees Arches and Canyonlands.
Yes, this land is still your land.
Thanks to Tim DeChristopher.