The following is a statement from Tim DeChristopher, Bidder 70, who bid up prices at a Bureau of Land Management auction to keep them from being sold by the Bush Administration to oil and gas companies. DeChristopher solicited donations from the public to help him put down payments on the land he "won."
"I'm thankful to announce we have reached our initial goal of raising $45,000 for the first payment on the 22,500 acres I "won" at the BLM auction on December 19th. Most of our donations came in $10 or $20 increments from thousands who gave whatever they could during this hard economic time
I deeply appreciate the generosity of all those who have contributed to our goal. It is very encouraging for me to see how many others value the land, the climate and a participatory democracy as much as I do. This has been a reminder for me that when you stand for what is right, you never stand alone. I hope that all these partners continue to stand with me in our fight for a livable future.
My legal team and I are now prepared to make the first payment. We are waiting for confirmation from the BLM and US Attorney's office that they will accept the payment. As I have said before, it is unclear to me how the BLM or the new administration will proceed in my case. In the event that my payment is refused and the parcels are going to be put up for auction again, the money given to my Lease Fund will be used to acquire these parcels in the new auction. I think that together we value this land and the climate more than oil companies value the oil in those rocks, so we should be able to demonstrate that in any future auction.
The other possibility is that my payment is refused and the parcels I "won" are not put up for auction again because the new administration realizes their real value. In this event, I will contact the donors and ask them whether the money should be returned, used for my defense fund, or given to another active environmental cause. There has been much uncertainty in this process, and I deeply appreciate the trust shown by those who have given despite that uncertainty. I will try to keep my supporters as informed as possible and respect their input.
We are continuing to receive donations for my legal research, defense and for possible future payments which may be required on the leases. As always, I urge those who support me and my actions to join me in standing up for our future. Please join the Capitol Climate Action in Washington DC on March 2nd, and constantly seek your own opportunities to create change. Remain open to the reality that you are not helpless and the possibility that you may be your own best hope for your future."