Environmental Activist Causes Chaos at BLM Utah Oil and Gas Lease Sale

Canyonlands Utah

Friday’s auction of public land oil and gas leases by BLM Utah was thrown into chaos by local activist Tim DeChristopher, who bid the prices up on parcels of land he has no intention of paying for.


“I thought I could be effective by making bids, driving up prices for others and winning some bids myself.” -DeChristopher

Bidding was halted for a time, and now buyers will have 10 days to reconsider and withdraw their bids. Kent Hoffman, deputy state director, BLM Utah, said, “He’s tainted the entire auction.”

According to the Deseret News, the FBI is questioning Tim DeChristopher of Salt Lake City, who drew complaints from other bidders as being unfamiliar and bidding in an unconventional manner. He has been released but is awaiting charges from the US Attorney’s office.

DeChristopher, a 27 year-old University of Utah economics student, won the bidding for 13 parcels, including 22,500 acres around Arches and Canyonlands National Parks, and succeeded in driving up the price of several other parcels. He now owes $1.7 million for all of his leases.

An attorney for Southern Utah Wilderness Alliance, Stephen Bloch, said the incident was a disservice to, and a huge distraction from, the peaceful protest that took place outside the building.

116 parcels out of the 131 originally offered were sold. Some parcels were pulled from the sale after complaints from the National Park Service and environmental groups. Only about half of the 359,000 acres first proposed for auction were actually up for sale on Friday.

Image: Wolfgang Staudt at Flickr under Creative Commons License

8 thoughts on “Environmental Activist Causes Chaos at BLM Utah Oil and Gas Lease Sale”

  1. “Starting today, we must pick ourselves up, dust ourselves off, and begin again the work of remaking America.” Pres. Obama 1-20-09

  2. anyway… ive got 5$ to help fix this and if anyone else here actually cares about this… put your money where your mouth is. you spend 5 goddamn dollars on starbucks…… let ONE GODDAMN CUP OF COFFEE go…

    why the hell arent WE BUYING THESE THINGS?

  3. 1.7 million?…. i think we should take up a collection and buy these. there has to be one or two RICH PEOPLE who give a shit about this… dont tell me that only poor people are concerned about this….. if so, why would that be? or there has to be a million people in this country who are willing to give up $1.70 each… or half a million willing to send 5$…..

    why the hell arent we buying these things?

  4. In response to Mark, who thinks Obama will shut down Natural Gas drilling…….wake up! Obama and both legislative branches realize the tremendous importance of Natural Gas to the US domestic energy policy. Natural Gas could replace a significant portion of imported oil to fuel our nations transportation, heating and electricity needs. Natural gas is clean, cheap, abundant and home grown that will be a part of our energy mix for the next 150 years.

  5. Hey Stephen Bloch-head, go f- yourself and your peaceful protest maybe your stupid protest was ineffective and your ego was hurt, boo hoo. Someone was more clever than you? embarrassed? Good luck DeChristopher, good timing and I’ll bet you stay outta jail with a good public pro-bono led fight. Don’t think this tactic will work again or very often as they were unusual circumstances but here’s to innovation! ps BLM, NPS..what a bunch of lame, spineless cowards!

  6. Fantastic! Brilliant idea Christopher! You are a true American hero. Maybe Robert Redford will jump in there and help pay the 1.7 million you owe for the leases!

  7. Good on Him!!! This is the stuff we really need. Let’s get more people there to “taint” the auctions, get more publicity, and get more justice and common sense for the Earth!!!


    Tim DeChristopher, you are AWEsome!
    Good luck.

  8. Too bad there weren’t 5 top bidders from activists. Then after the first guy got 10 days to back out, then the next then then next. After 50 days of that, the Obama administration could remove them from auction altogether.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Scroll to Top