Earth Day Exclusive: Tim DeChristopher Speaks Out After 21 Months in Prison for Disrupting Oil Bid

In a Democracy Now! exclusive on Earth Day, climate change activist Tim DeChristopher joins Democracy Now! for his first interview since being released from federal custody on April 21 after serving 21 months in detention.

DeChristopher was convicted of interfering with a 2008 public auction when he disrupted the Bush administration's last-minute move to sell off oil and gas exploitation rights in Utah. He posed as a bidder and won drilling lease rights to 22,000 acres of land in an attempt to save the property from oil and gas extraction.

The auction itself was later overturned and declared illegal, a fact that DeChristopher's defense attorneys were prevented from telling the jury. His case is the subject of the documentary, "Bidder 70," which will screen all over the country today to mark his release and Earth Day.

"I was primarily motivated by the threat of climate change. I saw that what we were doing as a movement wasn't working, and we needed to be taking more serious action," DeChristopher says.

"That day in 2008, I showed up at the auction and walked in and decided to do whatever I could to stand in the way of it and thought that might be, you know, making a speech or disrupting it somehow. But when I walked in, they asked me if I wanted to be a bidder. And so, I said, 'Yes,' and saw right away that there was an opportunity to have a serious impact on it. And so I took that opportunity and started bidding, started outbidding all the oil companies," he says.