Climate activist Tim DeChristopher visited "The Late Show" with David Letterman on Tuesday to discuss the documentary "Bidder 70," which tells the story of his stunning act of civil disobedience in a time of global climate chaos.
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.