Monday, January 12, 2009

Guerrilla Environmentalism

"I've been an environmentalist for pretty much all my life and done all the things that you're supposed to do that are supposed to lead toward change... I've marched and held signs. I've volunteered in national parks. I've written letters and signed petitions...Ultimately, I felt like those things were only mildly effective. And it was having a very tiny effect on a very large problem"
- Tim DeChristopher, a University of Utah Economics student who joined a Bureau of Land Management auction in Utah and raised prices on thousands of acres of federal land up for sale (to oil companies), and won 22,000 acres himself. He was forced out of the auction by federal agents and faces federal charges (which haven't been specified...). As a result of his actions, the land he won can't be put back on sale until after the Obama administration takes office (provided he can't pay the $1.3 million pricetag), effectively taking it off the market. He's raised over $45, 000 on the Internet in a bid (no pun intended) to keep the land.
The BLM announced the sale of over 149,000 acres of federal land in the Northwest on November 4th (Election Day), and set an auction date for a little over 6 weeks later, which is unprecedented in land auction history. Environmentalists say this was an obvious attempt by the Bush administration to help out their friends in the oil industry before leaving office.
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