The choice you are making today is what side are you on.
Bidder 70 centers on an extraordinary, ingenious and effective act of civil disobedience demanding government and industry accountability. In 2008, University of Utah economics student Tim DeChristopher committed an act which would redefine patriotism in our time, igniting a spirit of civil disobedience in the name of climate justice.
Follow Tim, Bidder 70, from college student to incarcerated felon. Redefine justice for yourself. Choose your side.
On December 19, 2008 Tim DeChristopher disrupted a highly disputed Utah BLM Oil and Gas lease auction, effectively safeguarding thousands of acres of pristine Utah land that were slated for oil and gas leases. Not content to merely protest outside, Tim entered the auction hall and registered as bidder #70. He outbid industry giants on land parcels (which, starting at $2 an acre, were adjacent to national treasures like Canyonlands National Park), winning 22,000 acres of land worth $1.7 million before the auction was halted.
Two months later, incoming Interior Secretary Ken Salazar invalidated the auction. DeChristopher, however, was indicted on two federal felonies with penalties of up to 10 years in prison and $750,000 in fines. Patrick Shea, former BLM Director for Clinton, represented DeChristopher pro-bono.
With the threat of prison looming, DeChristopher stepped up his activism and evolved into a charismatic and ingenious climate justice leader. He co-founded Peaceful Uprising, a grass-roots group dedicated to defending a livable future through empowering non-violent action.
After two years and nine postponements, his trial began on February 28, 2011. Outside the courtroom, hundreds rallied in solidarity with Tim. Inside, Judge Dee Benson disallowed every defense his lawyers put forth. After a five-day trial, DeChristopher was found guilty. His sentencing was scheduled for summer 2012.
Refusing to back down, Tim flew to D.C. in April 2011 to give a keynote speech at Power Shift 2011 in front of 10,000 students. He then led students to occupy the Department of the Interior. Tim wisely avoided arrest, but dozens of others were arrested for this mass act of peaceful civil disobedience.
On July 26th Tim was sentenced to two years in federal prison and removed immediately from court in chains.
Tim is serving the remainder of his sentence.
Once in a while someone comes along that totally wows you. That’s how we felt when we read about Tim DeChristopher. As bidder #70, DeChristopher bid 1.8 million dollars and saved 22,000 acres of pristine wilderness. No property was destroyed, no one was hurt, and valid concerns were raised over the entire BLM oil and gas leasing process. Bidder 70 was a story we wanted to tell.
Since 1993, Gage & Gage Productions has produced feature documentaries that inspire, educate and entertain; with Bidder 70, we will also motivate. Tim DeChristopher is a young man with a message that needs to be heard. Climate change is upon us and there is nothing more important to work for than a livable future. Tim's commitment to future generations, his evolution as a leader and his willingness to courageously accept the consequences of his action make his a story we hope will inspire and motivate a new generation of activists.
- Beth & George Gage
Gage & Gage Productions
Tim speaks after verdict
Tim speaks to supporters outside of the federal courthouse in Salt Lake City following a guilty verdict on March 4, 2011
We are all Bidder 70
Supporters protest Tim's sentencing on July 26, 2011. Tim was taken away from court in chains.
Tim at Powershift
Tim speaks at Powershift in April 2011 to an audience of 10,000+
Mock Trial Puppet James Hansen
Peaceful Uprising brought their giant puppet entourage to Mountainfilm in Telluride to perform the Mock Trial... a citizen's account of how Tim's trial should have been handled by the government.
December 2008 lease parcels
A map depicting some of the lease parcels included in the 2008 BLM oil and gas lease auction
Google earth of BLM parcels
A Google Earth image of parcels included in the 2008 BLM Oil and Gas lease auction that Tim disrupted.
Canyonlands and BLM lease parcels
A close up showing some of the parcels that Tim won in the 2008 BLM lease auction before it was halted. (c) SUWA
Topo maps of 2008 BLM lease parcels
A map depicted some of the parcels included in the fraudulent BLM oil and gas lease auction that Tim disrupted. Some of the parcels he won are included here. (c) SUWA
Images from the land parcels that Tim won in the auction.
Landscape of one of the parcel's that Tim won in the 2008 BLM oil and gas lease auction
Tim on the land
Tim speaks from the land he won in the 2008 BLM oil and gas lease auction
BLM land parcel
Imagery from the land that Tim saved outside of Canyonlands national park
Imagery from land that Tim saved from the auction.