In 2008, University of Utah student Tim DeChristoper did something unheard of. He registered as a bidder in a Utah BLM oil and gas lease auction. DeChristopher bid on thousands of acres to prevent the drilling planned for the land. And he won.
But DeChristopher was an activist trying to prevent the land being leased out to "industry giants"--he did not have the money and did not intend to pay for the land. DeChristopher's nonpayment caused the results of the auction to be canceled and, before another auction could be held, a new administration came into office. The new Interior secretary, Ken Salazar, invalidated the auction, stating that Utah's Bureau of Land Management had cut corners and broken its own rules in order to auction state land to energy companies. But DeChristopher was not off the hook. He was indicted on two federal charges.
The story of DeChristopher's civil disobedience, arrest, trial and prison sentence are the subject of a new documentary, Bidder 70, which screens Wednesday, Nov. 20, at 7 p.m., in the Simplot Ballroom at Boise State University. The screening is free and open to the public.