Mountainfilm in Telluride 2011 guest Tim De Christopher sentenced

Mountainfilm in Telluride 2011 guest Tim De Christopher sentenced

Tim DeChristopher, Mountainfilm
Tim at Telluride Mountainfilm

On July 28, Telluride Inside… and Out received the following note from Telluride local, filmmaker Beth Gage, who with husband George, is making a documentary, "Bidder 70," about environmental activist Tim DeChristopher. Tim, a Mountainfilm regular over the past three years, recently received his sentence for his act of nonviolent civil disobedience.

"Dear Susan,

You may have heard but Tim got a 2 year sentence and was whisked out of court and into a prison van in chains within minutes of his sentence.  I thought you might like to re-print Terry T Williams letter to the editor.


Beth's note to us was in response to a note she had received from another Mountainfilm guest, author Terry Tempest Williams, a major supporter of DeChristopher. That include included a link to a letter to the editor Williams penned.

 "Dearest Friends:  

I wanted to share with you this letter to the editor on Tim DeChristopher's sentencing of two years
in a federal prison.  Such a terrible injustice.  Such an infraction of free speech.

With love,

Tim DeChristopher's story began in the last days of President Bush, when his administration forced through a highly disputed BLM Oil and Gas Auction to lease thousands of acres of pristine Utah land surrounding Arches, Canyonlands and Dinosaur National Monument to the oil and gas industry. After finishing an economics exam at the University of Utah, Tim headed over to the BLM to join the protests. Countless attempts by environmental coalitions to halt the "midnight sale" had failed, and an air of hopelessness hung over the crowd. So Tim decided to do more than just protest outside. He decided to go inside.

Tim was allowed to register as a bona-fide bidder and took his seat amongst the oil and gas representatives and speculators in the auction room. Paddle #70 rested on his knees as the bidding began. At first, he just wanted to drive up the cost of the parcels, but Tim quickly realized this wasn’t enough and went all in. By the time the guards escorted him out, Tim had bid nearly $1.8 million to win 14 parcels or 22,000 acres of pristine Utah wilderness for which he had no intention to pay.
Through his derring-do, Tim had bought enough time for the Obama administration to come in and invalidate the auction. Remarkably, despite the fact that the auction was ruled illegal, the US attorney indicted Tim on two federal counts for disrupting the auction and on March 3 he was found guilty. He just received his sentence as described above.

Beth Gage met Tim DeChristopher at the Wild & Scenic Environmental Film Festival, where the two decided to collaborate on a project that would bring Tim's outrage, actions, hopes and situation to a global audience. Now the Gage's film,'Bidder 70," has an ending. Well maybe. Perhaps the next segment is the appeal.

To listen to our interview with Tim DeChristopher just before Mountainfilm, go to: /2011/05/2011-mountainfilm-in-telluride-tim-dechristopher-bidder-70.html

See also Peter Yarrow's op-ed piece in the LA Times.

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