Tim DeChristopher, “Bidder 70” in a 2008 Department of Interior Utah oil lease auction, goes to trial this week amidst throngs of supporters, celebrities and media coverage. Tim is charged with two felonies: making false statements and violating federal oil leasing laws, both for entering the winning (highest) bid on a U.S. government oil lease in Utah canyon country, without funds to consummate the purchase. For these alleged offenses, he faces up to ten years in prison.
Yesterday, Federal District Judge Dee Benson instructed the jury not to consider Tim’s defense that he acted out of “necessity” in the face of the global climate emergency. Invoking Gandhi’s maxim to “Be the change you want to see in the world,” Tim explained in an interview with Good Magazine:
“[T]he change that most of us wish to see is a carbon tax, but our leaders aren’t doing that for us, so Gandhi’s call is then for us to be the carbon tax… [t]o cost the fossil fuel industry money in any way that we can… [g]etting in their way, slowing them down, shutting them down. Doing whatever we can to be that tax. It forces our leaders to make a choice—to either be more explicit in their war on the young generation, or to get serious about stopping climate change.”
The Carbon Tax Center expresses profound thanks to Tim for putting his liberty on the line for “Generation Hot” and for calling out the policy change that’s urgently necessary: a carbon tax that makes the prices of fossil fuels reflect at least some of the damage their use costs nature, communities and humanity.
Tim has risked a great deal for what he believes in. Prison is tough option.