In December 2008, the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) auctioned off hundreds of thousands of pristine acres surrounding Utah’s treasured national parks for oil and gas exploitation. Environmental groups protested politely, but one University of Utah student stepped across that proverbial “line in the sand”.
Tim DeChristopher entered the BLM auction, was offered bidder’s paddle #70 and by the time he put his hand down, had won 22,000 acres of glorious red-rock for 1.8 million dollars with no intention to pay or drill.
In February 2009, the new Obama administration’s Secretary of Interior, Salazar, agreed on the significance of the auctioned parcels and invalidated the entire auction because of the land’s “proximity to landscapes of national significance”. Nevertheless, on April Fool’s Day, Tim was indicted on two federal felonies with penalties of up to ten years in prison and fines of $750,000.
BIDDER 70 follows Tim as he maneuvers legal purgatory, over two years and nine trial postponements. With the threat of prison looming, DeChristopher steps up his activism and matures into a charismatic, ingenious, and non-violent climate justice leader.
In February 2011, hundreds of supporters paraded through the streets of Salt Lake City as Tim’s trial began. After five days, DeChristopher was found guilty on both counts. Tim was sentenced to two years in federal prison. After serving time in a variety of federal prisons, Tim is currently finishing up his parole while attending Harvard Divinity School to become a UU minister, which was paid for by UU’s from all over the country wanting to support him, and especially those from SLC.
BIDDER 70 is Tim DeChristopher’s story. It’s the story of young people fed up with corporate control of their government, it’s the story of the power of individual choices and their consequences. It’s the story of a principled young man and the bravery of his commitment to a livable world. Join us on Tuesday, October 21 at 4:30 pm for this inspiring story.