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Ear to the Ground

Activist Tim DeChristopher to Be Released From Prison

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Posted on Oct 9, 2012
Illustration by Mr. Fish

The environmental activist who was sentenced to two years in prison for disrupting the transfer of public land to the oil and gas industry will be released to a halfway house on Oct. 24 after spending 18 months in custody.

If you haven’t heard of Tim DeChristopher, here’s a succinct catch-up from Treehugger:

In 2008 DeChristopher entered a federal oil and gas exploration lease auction. Assuming he was an industry bidder he was authorized to bid on leases. He won several, for which he, at the time, had no money to pay for—before anyone figured out that he was an activist. Afterwards he raised the money to pay for the leases, but the US government refused to accept payment. Eventually the whole auction was declared invalid, but DeChristopher was charged with misrepresenting himself at the auction. At trial the jury was not allowed to consider that the auction itself was invalidated or that the government refused to accept payment for the parcels won. Tim was convicted, appealed, and was sentenced to two years in federal prison.

DeChristopher gained national attention for his intervention at the auction. In 2011, Chris Hedges interviewed the activist, who said “The rules are written by those who profit from the status quo. ... If we want to change that status quo we have to step outside of those rules. We have to put pressure on those within the political system to choose one side or another.”

According to the Deseret News, DeChristopher will serve out the six months remaining on his sentence at a halfway house in Salt Lake City. The paper says he will work at a Unitarian church and hopes to apply to graduate school.

—Posted by Peter Z. Scheer.

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