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Amy Choate-Nielsen: Unlikely activist: Tim DeChristopher is praised, reviled as environmental radical

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  • ljeppson Salt Lake City, UT
    Dec. 12, 2010 1:39 a.m.

    I admire this guy. He's willing to take a chance and for that reason he is effective. He's an academic it's true, but he's more than that - he's effective. Compare his effectiveness with that of his ivory tower contemporaries at the "U."

  • Tekakaromatagi Dhahran, Saudi Arabia
    Dec. 12, 2010 7:09 a.m.

    Well, you know, I am an environmental radical and revolutionary too. Years ago I sent a letter to the Binghamton Times which is the main newspaper in Maurice Hinchey's district (he sponsored wilderness legislation to make a lot of southern Utah wilderness). SUWA liked him a lot.

    In the letter I said that Utah's public lands belong to all Americans, (like Maurice Hinchey) had said. But then I asked the people in New York to ask Maurice Hinchey, "If 98% of the land in southern Utah is locked up for wilderness, then who does the poverty belong too?" The answer was, of course, it only belongs to the people of southern Utah.

    Tekakaromatagi

  • isbjorn Salt Lake City, UT
    Dec. 12, 2010 8:22 a.m.

    Money, I believe, continues to stand as a key element in this issue. DeChristopher, like many others concerned about environmental degradation and exploitation, tried other "more peaceful, passive routes" to change but ultimately found that most, if not all, doors are closed to those without industry clout and big $$$ when it comes to the decision making process.

    DeChristopher knows that it is his generation that will be left to clean up the mess left behind by the insatiable consumption of this one and that it will be ill-equipt to afford it.

    The world needs energy but destroying our ecology to get it is foolish. I have said 1,000 times that Utah's most valuable resource is its beauty. Left pristine, it will benefit Utahns for generations, both in revenue as well as in health. But destroyed for temporary profit, it will leave nothing for the future but a costly mess. Nobody is going to come to Utah to see its mine tailings and sludge ponds (tar sands).

    We need to radically shift our pursuit for energy to less destructive methods or we are going to leave future generations with few options.

    I completely support Tim on this issue.

  • md Smithfield, UT
    Dec. 12, 2010 8:43 a.m.

    Come on moderator. The last comment I gave wasn't offensive. I think the man hasn't done anything worthwhile. He broke the law. He should pay.

  • Windwood Holladay, UT
    Dec. 12, 2010 9:16 a.m.

    I like Tim DeChristopher. That said, DeChristopher has some characteristics of classic activism. He is socially unconventional and deeply focused on his concerns to the apparent end that he doesnt see the faults in his own conclusions. Activists, by definition are egocentric. They only associate with those who agree with them and they therefore become myopically more convinced and entrenched in their causes. Before long they see nothing else. No other opinion counts. At some point they can end up like Rocky Anderson; foaming at the mouth about subjects no one cares about or agrees with. It might serve DeChristophers cause if hed take up Mike Noels invitation and spend some time in Kanab at Noels ranch learning a different perspective. I believe theyd both gain something from each other. In any event, the trial is a travesty. Tim DeChristopher should be treated as a parking ticket violator nothing more. Hes certainly not a criminal nor should he be treated like one. At the end of the article I find myself asking, what does this guy do for a living?

  • BobP Port Alice, B.C.
    Dec. 12, 2010 9:19 a.m.

    Global warming or climate change is simply a wealth redistribution scam.

  • What in Tucket? Provo, UT
    Dec. 12, 2010 9:21 a.m.

    Since China produces half the CO2 from their coal plants ( an new one weekly) it seems this gentleman should head for that country. I think our goal is solar energy and that means we need electrical storage units. Let's put our money into developing them. I also like the idea of converting our trash into natural gas as is now being done in Sweden. This is a practical way to produce alternative energy. Saves money and gets rid of our garbage. One plant in each valley sounds good to me. Let's protest for that.

  • Coyote Westminster, CO
    Dec. 12, 2010 9:31 a.m.

    Thank you Tim for your effort and example to protect our lands.

    Plus anything that riles up Kanab's Mike Noel is an extra bonus. Great work!

  • samhill Salt Lake City, UT
    Dec. 12, 2010 9:48 a.m.

    "...if convicted, he faces up to 10 years in prison and a potential $500,000 fine."

    Count me among those that think this guy is a typical arrogant zealot who believes that, unlike everyone else, he is entitled to special treatment and consideration because of his "knowledge" regarding "global warming".

    I hope he's required to spend every minute of the 10 years in prison and pay every dime of the $500K.

  • mroach West Jordan, UT
    Dec. 12, 2010 9:52 a.m.

    So if I don't like the new healthcare law, I can go in under false pretence, purposefully foul up the system so that people that do want it can't take advantage of it, and I'll be hailed as a hero? Awesome! You've converted me Professor Goldberg and Mr. DeCristopher!

  • Glad to be Retired Bountiful, UT
    Dec. 12, 2010 10:14 a.m.

    Like so many before him, he is a problem identifier and not a problem solver. If you are going to bring forth problems, how about having "workable/acceptable" solutions also?

  • 5 Orem, UT
    Dec. 12, 2010 10:21 a.m.

    Many activists sincerely believe they are helping to clean up the environment. They are unaware that they are minions of radical environmentalists using the cause to redistribute global wealth. They oppose all carbon fuels, which in the short term is simply not feasable. If they would push the conversion of autos and trucks to natural gas, of which recent discoveries have boosted US reserves to more than 100 years, that would prove to the world they really want to clean up the environment. The technology already exists to do it. And in doing so the US could eliminate imported oil, even begin exporting natural gas. Imagine the benefit to our balance of trade. I challenge the environmentalists to be positive for a change, and actively support a viable short term solution to pollution. Such a radical change from a history of total negative activism might prove that a clean environment is really their goal. Not wealth redistribution which is simply another definition of socialism/communism.

  • B-727 Salt Lake City, UT
    Dec. 12, 2010 10:28 a.m.

    Come on, Windwood. This matter should be treated like a parking ticket? You can't be serious.

    Mr. DeChristopher deliberately defrauded the lawful participants in that auction to the tune of hundreds of thousands of dollars. What about their rights?

    Judge Benson has already ruled that Mr. Dechristopher's self-stated motivation ("saving the planet") is no defense. When someone chooses civil disobedience and breaks the law (ie, the will of the people expressed through their freely elected legislature), he or she had better be prepared to accept the consequences.

    Mr. DeChristopher's argument that change cannot be brought about through lawful processes is appalling. That's reason enough to throw the book at him. The man is badly unbalanced and needs to spend some time cooling his head off in prison.

    Mr. DeChristopher and his pals are misguided zealots, not heroes. My advice to all of them: Don't do the crime if you can't do the time. If you choose the hard path of civil disobedience, be prepared to "man up" and take your medicine.

  • chilly Salt Lake City, UT
    Dec. 12, 2010 10:29 a.m.

    Please Des News, surely there is someone who actually deserves 3 full pages of your paper, someone who at this time of the year is working to help people in a way that doesn't involve making paper mache figures and spouting nonsense.

  • Timj South Jordan, UT
    Dec. 12, 2010 11:42 a.m.

    DN,
    Thank you for two excellent articles today about people who had the courage to stand up to authority for the greater good (both this article and the article about Mick Fennerty). The world needs more people like that.

  • Navajo Hogan Salt Lake City, UT
    Dec. 12, 2010 12:21 p.m.

    What an incredibly uninspiring waste of time.

    With the efficacy of a lame gimmick like this non-existent, they should put themselves on trial for carbon footprint they created having this event.

  • Gladys1948 Salt Lake City, UT
    Dec. 12, 2010 12:50 p.m.

    I am proud to have Tim as a member of our community.

    Like he inferred in the article, the oil and coal companies are taking us all for a ride -- while they rake in the profits. At the very least, they should be paying for the real cost of the damage they are doing to our shared landscape. The auction did not reflect that price. $2.85 for an acre?!

    Thank you Tim, and thank you DN for such an in-depth article about the nuances of the whole situation.

  • TRUTH Salt Lake City, UT
    Dec. 12, 2010 1:10 p.m.

    Pretty simple......you bid MILLIONS with no intent or ability to pay?

    ......... YOU GO TO JAIL!

    Today!

  • Christopher Stout Salt Lake City, UT
    Dec. 12, 2010 1:31 p.m.

    I have spoken to Tim and you can be rest assured that he is prepared to do the time. The problem it seems, is that the federal government is in no hurry to see him do that time.

    Considering that the auction was later found to be invalid for other reasons, it seems that nobody has been defrauded out of anything. This begs the question, how can one defraud someone who had no material interest?

    Tim, as promised, if you do end up in prison, I will be a regular visitor until you have served your time and an ardent fund raiser if you are fined.

  • AlanSutton Salt Lake City, UT
    Dec. 12, 2010 3:05 p.m.

    DeChristopher chose to break the law rather than work for change within the system. Remember? Secretary Salazar cancelled the sale a few months after DeChristopher fouled up the auction, and he did so without DeChristopher's help. Remember? There was an election, and a new administration took over the Department of the Interior. The lesson? We don't have to break the law to bring about change.

  • Demo Dave Holladay, UT
    Dec. 12, 2010 3:10 p.m.

    Working within the system if fine is it yields results, but too often, trying to play by the rules just gets you bogged down in red tape. Non-violent civil disobedience has always been the more effective method for getting results, and for getting noticed.

    I tried dozens of times to get the attention of former Congressman James Hansen (a true anti- enviro, and one of Utah's most worthless politicians), and couldn't even get him to return my letters or phone calls. So much for playing by the rules.

    Tim DeChristopher is a hero because he has the guts to do what others only talk about. He is willing to risk it all for an ethical conviction that extends far beyond mere rhetoric or the shallow hyperbole that others spew in an vein attempt to sound sincere. I will stand by Tim in any protest at any time, and hope to see him exonerated from his alleged "crime." Tim is a modern-day Henry David Thoreau.

  • American Spartan Taylorsville, Utah
    Dec. 12, 2010 3:41 p.m.

    Tim is a typical Communist. Kids are kids, and he is not an exception. Just check out his tweets on Twitter, like applauding SLCPD Chief Burbank defending illegal immigration at Immigration Summit this summer. Arrogance knows no boundary, and Tim will have to feel the hand of justice fall on him, while he cries "Revolution!" with raised fist.

  • Jonathan Eddy Payson, UT
    Dec. 12, 2010 4:58 p.m.

    Throw tea into the harbor.....go to jail.

  • rmk South Jordan, UT
    Dec. 12, 2010 5:38 p.m.

    doesn't this story belong in a SUWA fund raising letter. SUWA wants all land wilderness and if it has roads it doesn't qualify as wilderness. So the bad guys are the ones using the roads unless they drive a Subaru. We shouldn't commit SUWAside with OUR public lands. So when is the 4 page story by Utah Shared Alliance or Blue Ribbon Coalition.

  • Duckhunter American Fork, UT
    Dec. 12, 2010 5:56 p.m.

    I can't wait until this clown is locked away for a looooong time. $10 bucks says a few years in jail and this "principled" LOL activist changes his tune.

    You know most of us were fools when we were young but most of us weren't criminals. He is a criminal. Would these same people defending him still be defending him if he had simply stolen the money of the companies so they couldn't pay for their purchased leases? Of course that would have stopped it as well. The end justifies the means afterall.

    My guess is the support is selective for most of you. You simply don't want gas and oil exploration. Would you support me if I took a principled stand and refused to pay any taxes that would go to any socialist program I didn't support? Of course not because you're hypocrites.

  • dave31 Salt Lake City, UT
    Dec. 12, 2010 8:00 p.m.

    Put me down as being on the side of Mike Noal, not DeChristopher. I hope Tim and his buddies are not driving to an from their destinations or using fossil fuel or any of its derivatives for heat and light this winter.

  • cynic Appleton, WI
    Dec. 13, 2010 12:39 a.m.

    Let's see. George W. Bush defrauded the American people by illegally pushing through the auction of these oil and gas leases (when he was already a lame duck president and knew his successor would never allow it). He also led us into an illegal and imprudent war by making false claims to the American people. He robbed us of our constitutional rights, illegally spied on American citizens, and condoned illegal torture of prisoners, among other crimes.

    So, if Tim DeChristopher belongs in prison, what about Bush? If those of you calling for DeChristopher's imprisonment don't believe Bush belongs there too, then you are not only being hypocritical, but you are proving DeChristopher's point that sometimes civil disobedience is the only way to point out the wrongs in society.

  • Demo Dave Holladay, UT
    Dec. 13, 2010 12:15 p.m.

    Re: Duckhunter. You're right, I don't want gas and oil exploration on lands that are worth more for their aesthetic value than for their exploitable resources, knowing that they cannot and will not be restored to their original condition after the raping and pillaging are done.

    Tim didn't "steal" anything from the oil companies. They already have all the money -- yours, mine, and everyone else's. Still, it's nice to know that you are sympathetic toward them. It sorta warms my heart.

  • Where do eggs come from Sandy, Ut
    Dec. 13, 2010 4:50 p.m.

    I would like to know what was wrong with my last comment?

  • Duckhunter American Fork, UT
    Dec. 13, 2010 9:19 p.m.

    @demo dave

    I'm actully sympathetic towards mankind. I really appreciate all of the great things that we have because of oil. I love cars, planes, motrocycles, lawn mowers, snow blowers, plastic products, heaters, generators, etc.

    I also really appreciate heating my home in the winter with natural gas.

    I appreciate how out life expectancies have increased during the last century, how I can travel quickly to all parts of the country and globe. I love that I can drive down to the store and grab a gallon of milk in meer minutes.

    I love the better life, and fantastic lifestyle, that gas and oil give us all and recognize to keep this lifestyle that we need to drill and mine and extract.

    Frankly I think our lives are great and they are great in large part because of oil and gas.

    You can go and live in a hut if you want, I'll keep driving my V8 4wd and heating my house.

    My guess is you really haven't thought it out at all, you just blindly react to chicken little assertions of global catastrophe. LOL

  • Steven Harper Salt Lake City, UT
    Dec. 19, 2010 8:09 p.m.

    Don't send this accidental activist to prison. That will give him a lifetime of grants & donations from willing accomplices - the proverbial free lunch. I support authentic environmentalists. My mother's maiden name is Muir. But I don't support this monkey wrencher. Or as Robert Redford noted at the Sundance Film Festival, "He did it all as a joke," referring to DeChristopher's juvenile prank. Give him some serious probation. Let him ride his bike to the next New York Film Festival. Let his camera crew document THAT trip. Let him do some actual environmental work - cleaning streams, working with Larry Gibson in West Virginia, anything real... Not the poseur antics or puppet shows of a media manipulator.

  • fair ground Salt Lake City, Utah
    Dec. 20, 2010 11:33 a.m.

    They are having bi-monthly meetings to strategize on what all of his followers are going to do to throw another wrench into the system when his trial, (if his trial) begins.
    They staged the "mock trial" across from the Federal Courthouse that Monday because they had expected the national media to be there covering the Elizabeth Smart trial.
    He is usually wearing a microphone to record everything for a documentary someone is making about him. That is the reasons he is hoping to go to trial. If the case is thrown out due to legal maneuvering or due to the fact that the auction, in and of itself was illegal, he becomes a non issue. He has to go to trial and jail for credibility.
    In closing, I suggest someone call Robert Redford people might be quite surprised at Redford's response.