February 28th 2011 Salt Lake City, Utah: Probably one of the most heroic episodes of the new geological era unfolds in a Federal Courthouse here today with the opening of the notorious Bidder 70 trial against activist Tim De Christopher.
The story begins on 19th December 2008 the day that DeChristopher, an economics student completed his exams. Wandering down to a protest outside the U.S. Government's Bureau of land Management who were auctioning oil and gas drilling rights described as a ‘fire sale’ and ‘the Bush Administration’s last great gift to the oil and gas industry’.
Originally given bidder card number 70 in error the penniless student's protest turned in to a bidding war against the oil and gas industry.
DeChristopher enjoys the support of famous names such as Dr. James Hansen , Bill McKibben and film maker Robert Redford who all recognize this to be a turning point in the climate movement.
At first DeChristopher used bidder card number 70 just to drive up the price of real estate, but realised this was probably his one and only chance to make a difference he started to bid higher eventually winning . Although a spontaneous result of erroneously recieving the bidder card DeChristopher bid a total of 1.7 million dollars to win twelve lots of 22 000 acres of Red Rock Desert which he has saved from development.
Despite originally intending to make an example of him the Federal Prosecutor's camp seems to have caught a cold, it has been reported* that the U.S Attorney for the State of Utah has said "maybe a plea deal can be worked out" something DeChristopher is unlikely to accept despite facing ten years in Federal Penitentiary if convicted.
Further reading :
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8_QW-87MSUk&feature=related This is a video of bidder 70 winning an actual plot.
Rachel Maddow show : http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PJoLRSQRN74&NR=1