Uncategorized Utah - Creative Commons photo by Flickr user wolfgangstaudt

Published on January 9th, 2009 | by Zachary Shahan


Utah Student Raises $45,000 to Protect Land from Drilling

Tim DeChristopher, the student who won over 22,000 acres of land at a Bureau of Land Management Auction, is on his way to purchasing the land, which was originally intended for sale to oil companies.

[Creative Commons photo by Wolfgang Staudt]


DeChristopher infiltrated a Bureau of Land Management auction on December 19th. Because the agency threw the auction together so hastily, he was able to get inside, grab an auction paddle and bid against the oil companies. He successfully raised the $45,000 by today in order to hold onto his claim.

While he may not be able to raise enough to cover the $1.7 million price tag for all 13 parcels of land, this down payment will let him hold onto his winnings at least until the new administration is in place, keeping it out of the hands of oil and gas companies. DeChristopher thinks “that making the down payment on the leases is the best way to protect the land until we can restore open, transparent and democratic procedures for determining the fate of valuable public lands.”

Not only did raising the money help him keep the acreage, it allowed him to avoid fraud charges. At the advice of his legal counsel, DeChristopher concluded that purchasing the land “makes it simply a question of my intent in opposing what I thought was a fraudulent auction.”

DeChristopher can still use our help! There is still a chance he could raise the money he needs to buy the land. Even if this is not possible, he needs help paying his legal fees. To read more of his story or make a donation, head over to the Bidder 70 website. While you’re there, check out his moving open letter about his act of civil disobedience.


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About the Author

is the director of CleanTechnica, the most popular cleantech-focused website in the world, and Planetsave, a world-leading green and science news site. He has been covering green news of various sorts since 2008, and he has been especially focused on solar energy, electric vehicles, and wind energy since 2009. Aside from his work on CleanTechnica and Planetsave, he's the founder and director of Solar Love, EV Obsession, and Bikocity. To connect with Zach on some of your favorite social networks, go to ZacharyShahan.com and click on the relevant buttons.

34 Responses to Utah Student Raises $45,000 to Protect Land from Drilling

  1. jp says:

    he’s a moron and should be in jail.

  2. What an idiot, we are dependent on foreign oil, and when we have a chance to use some of the resources we have here for free, this stupid green moron throws a wrench in the plans. I hope he looses all his money. I am going to throw up if I hear the word green again…

  3. Alex says:

    To JP and Sparky the Stun Guy

    You are right on an economical standpoint that it is stupid. On another perspective though, we must find alternate, more Durable, energy source if we want to continue living as we do forever. Oil is limited and it’s a matter of time before we run out.

  4. Kazzz says:

    you both are idiots, the us has a maximum 3% of the world oil supply. If we raped all our land to get that 3% your gas drops by a dime. That is REAL smart. That is just common sense man. The future IS green. You have no idea what you talk about man. Support green energy instead of supporting drilling which ironically increases dependence on oil although you make it sound like a bad thing. well it is! so fuck it, and get workin on something else.

  5. Paul says:

    This man is a hero. He is protecting what remains of our natural environment for future generations of Americans from those who would destroy it for brief profits.

  6. Kaushik says:


    You are the real American Hero. I don’t understand how people don’t realize the importance of preserving the planet for our children.

  7. SLY says:

    Kudos to Mr.DeChristopher! More power to him. He out manuveured the usual corporate manuveurers.

  8. Americans Can't Think says:

    JP and Sparky…

    Shut the hell up. We have enough oil in Alaska to keep this country going for the next 200 years. We don’t need to drill for more oil!!! Tell Congress we should use Alaska oil for our own use instead of shipping it out to foreigners.

  9. John says:

    Please don’t give this douche another penny. He should already be jailed for fraud. He bid in an auction with no intent to pay/back his bid. That’s cut/dry fraud in any other situation. Please smack a misguided neo-hippy whenever you have the chance.

  10. Sparky the Stun Gun says:

    Wait, it’s not the word green that’s making me throw up, it’s my neoconservative ideals coupled with the years of overeating and smog inhalation.

  11. Alec Munro says:

    You came to a website called “ecolocalizer” to complain about the word “green”?

    Who’s the moron again?

    I for one fully support what this guy did. He prevented public land from being sold at dirt-cheap prices to companies that are raking in billions in profits. If they want our land, they can damn well pay a fair price for it.

  12. oliver says:

    what is wrong with you people? you’re all so greedy that you can’t even appreciate what this guy is doing; saving the natural habitat of hundreds, maybe thousands of animals. it’s people like him we’ll be thanking decades from now for preserving america’s wildlife.

  13. Matt says:

    What a pointless and ultimately futile attempt to stave off “big oil.” If he doesn’t raise enough money to complete the purchase of the land how much extra gasoline/energy used to host his website/legal paper were used in this little social experiment that would not have otherwise been consumed? By temporarily saving the land from its ultimate and inevitable destruction he has actually had the net effect of worsening the situation.

  14. jared says:

    Drill Here, Drill Now. wont reduce oil costs, it will be the same oil companies selling us our oil, with the same quarter-monthly stock quotas.
    So we can continue to buy “foreign” oil and leave our landscape unharmed, or we can drill here, giving oil companies less overhead while keeping our purchase price the same.

  15. lololator says:

    22,000 acres is a lot of land.
    Without Googling, how much land do you think BLM has?
    For reference, Florida is 42,108,800 acres in size.

    A:2,640,000 acres
    B:26,400,000 acres
    C:264,000,000 acres
    D:2,640,000,000 acres

  16. Patrick O'Reilly says:

    Learn not to burn. The only idiots here are the gas burning car lovers that don’t realize that they are tightening the noose around their own (& everyone else’s) necks and killing the planet for our children. Green is the way to go and I don’t mean Irish. Wake up people. To bad there aren’t more heros like this guys to put the oil Barons (The one who enslave you) out of business. They wouldn’t be rich if you didn’t worship them.

  17. Tater says:

    Hey, Oil companies want my 1/2 acre of land too. Will everyone please send me one dollar via paypal to stop those evil bastards???

    Green, green, green I scream. Now give me some of your money, like you idiots are going to for this very intelligent manipulator the story’s about. You guys are paying his bills!!

    Way to go Tim. If you make a profit, send a few “green”backs over to your student loans.

  18. CrazyBigHorse says:

    Great Job Christopher.. Keeping going buddy..

  19. IAM RIGHT says:

    He’s a hero. If you want to drill, drill in some craphole like Mississippi or El Paso or LA.

  20. Anne says:

    Yea for DeChristopher! The auction itself was a fraud – Bush trying to hammer it through before Obama takes over. So good for this guy for fighting it, even if he did lie a bit. You think the oil companies never lie to you? he was willing to do time for what he did, unlike the heads of the oil companies. That’s great that he’s raised the down payment. These lands, once drilled on, can never return to their pristine state. Any oil would be a temporary reprieve. We need long-lasting non-oil solutions. Go DeChristopher!!!

  21. telluride36 says:

    The only reason we are talking about this is because Bush wants to give his oil buddies as much land as he can. He is such a idiot. The oil companies will not drill on this land until the price of oil goes back up to $150 barrel. Then you will be at arches and canyonlands, looking at some of the most beautiful land in the country, and the background will look like ugly Texas. Hope he holds it until Obama gets in office so it will never get ugly oil wells so we can get enough oil to last our country one day. Oh, I forgot, the oil companies did say they would paint the oil wells red to match the redrock in the area. They are as dumb as Bush.

  22. Christopher Daniele says:

    I think what Tim DeChristopher did was very comendable and brave. Kudos to Mr. DeChristoper for being an example to others that individuals can always make a difference in their community.

    I discovered this article on Digg, which had over 700 Diggs at the time of this posting. I’m glad to see I’m not the only one who can respect a person for standing up in what they believe in.

  23. Joanna says:

    The government is supposed to be by the people and for the people. The people being forced to buy the land, from what is essentially themselves, to keep their representatives from selling it out from under them to corporate interests well its all quite ridiculous.

  24. holly says:

    This kid freakin’ rocks! Right on!

  25. Les says:

    think guys these companies are not going to drill for oil here either they will buy the drilling rights then sit on them for years they already have millions of acres, that they don’t use its more profitable to just own the rights and use them as collateral. also by owning the oil they can control the price. you really think this guy is going to change anything ?

  26. John says:

    “destroy it for brief profits”…You are an idiot. I am a drilling engineer, and you know nothing about the environmental impact of drilling. The amount of energy you expend fapping to Cloris Leachman at 3 AM on your macbook is more harmful to the environment than a well-run drilling rig.

  27. Judi says:

    Thank you, thank you, thank you, Christopher. As a native Utahn, I support you in what you have done to help save some of the most beautiful land in the country that should be preserved for all generations. We don’t need more oil. We need alternative energy sources.

  28. moss says:

    “Infiltrated”? WTF, government land auctions are open, any person or company can bid and many do, driving the price to fair market value and generating the most revenue for the government. Everyone else pays for what they won, this guy is just a jackass. Additionally, land with proven reserves fetch the highest price. I bet this douche just tried to buy a lot of the cheapest land, which wasn’t going to get drilled anyway.

  29. royboy says:

    I find it funny that people think that if we drill in America the oil stays here. Like the oil companies are only going to sell that oil here. NOT. And the effect on increasing supply to lower cost is minimal. Oil companies are our government are joke. We should be farther ahead in technology. Oil companies want to maximize their profits before moving on to other technology. The don’t reinvest as much as they should into other technologies. Their commercials are full of crap. Auto industry a joke for not better mileage. Citizens are idiots driving hummers like they are in the army. Duh?

  30. Cliff says:

    Please do go and register your support for Tim at http://www.Bidder70.org

  31. Andy says:

    I support DeChristophers actions in raising awareness of the Bush administrations attempt at selling off OUR national resources for a pittance on Nov 4th (election day). How interesting that Bush rushed this latest land grab on a day no one should have been paying attention.

    Tim DeChristopher made an appearance today in Nevada City, CA at the Wild & Scenic Film Festival. He spoke passionately of civil disobedience as a call to save our future. His actions have triggered support from hundreds if not thousands of supporters including the former head of the BLM.

    Kudos to Mr. DeChristopher at stymieing the Bush Oil cabal. And yes, if you only have 3% of the world’s oil, yet use many times that you cannot drill your way out of this mess. Frankly I can’t believe how many Repubs are in the pocket of big oil. Drill baby drill? Wake up people!

  32. Disobey says:

    I just wonder if anybody has been to the area he’s buying land in. I have spent quite a bit of time in the area surrounding Moab and can say it would be just awful to sell it off for gas and oil, two failing industries and costly depleting resources. All this business about oil is destructive enough for this country. Most of our problems are directly or indirectly caused by our addiction to oil. So let this guy resist. Encourage more people to disobey in a civil manner. Join him in acting non-violently to halt the efforts of major companies that do practically nothing progressive. Have compassion for the land because this planet is all we’ve got to call home.

  33. Slot Cars says:

    I see all of these beautiful photos but they don’t say if that is the actual land he bid on.

    Does anyone know the coords so I can look it up on google maps? it could just be some plain old flat lands.

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