2008/12/29: Utah student saves 22,000 acres from oil drilling

At a last-minute auction of drilling rights on Federal land, planned by the Bush administration to open up natural areas to drilling before the incoming Obama administration takes power, University student Tim DeChristopher posed as a bidder and bid hundreds of thousands of dollars on parcels of the land, driving up prices and winning some 22,000 acres for himself, without any intention of paying for them. "I got in there and saw the opportunity to make the difference and then realized that, seeing that opportunity, I couldn’t ethically justify not taking it. I knew that as bad as this could possibly turn out, if I ended up going to prison, then I could live with that. But if I saw an opportunity to protect the land of southern Utah and I saw an opportunity to keep some oil in the ground and give us a better chance for a livable future and I passed up that opportunity, then I wouldn’t be able to live with that." DeChristopher said. Although Christopher was not aware of the location of the parcels he was bidding on, it now turns out that much of the land is in the area of Arches National Park (below). Read/listen to this report on Democracy Now!