From the Mountains of West Virginia to the Canyons of Utah

Monday, July 25th, 2011
posted by rampscampaign57

As we hit the one week mark of the tree sit on Coal River Mountain, the RAMPS campaign stands in solidarity with Tim DeChristopher!  He faces sentencing on the 26th of July at the Salt Lake City federal courthouse on two  felony counts for peacefully disrupting an oil and gas lease auction, an act of civil disobedience.

UPDATE:  Tim was sentanced to 2 years in federal prison and $10,000.  He was taken into custody immediately.

Jail Support is essential! letter writing is fun!

Tim DeChristopher (Booking Number) (201106916)
Davis County Correctional Facility
P. O. Box 130 Farmington, UT 84025

On December 19th 2008, Tim Dechristopher walked into the auction and was asked if he would like to bid.  He took bidder paddle No. 70 and proceeded to outbid oil and gas companies, by “buying” drilling rights to over 22,ooo acres of land for 1.7 million dollars before being stopped by a federal agent.  Tim’s action effectively saved most of the public lands up for auction from oil and gas drilling, as the incoming Obama administration subsequently declared three-quarters of the parcels that had been up for bid as unsuitable for drilling.  During his trial, Tim was never allowed to tell the jury about the illegitimacy of the auction or about his attempts to raise the funds to pay for the land he had won. Furthermore, he was strictly forbidden from even mentioning climate change and the moral imperatives motivating his action!  His bold action has allowed many precious acres to be protected, just outside Arches and Canyonlands National Parks.

Tim faces up to 10 years (and up to $750,000 in total fines) for disrupting a federal auction and making false statements on federal forms to enter the auction.   These charges are meant in every way possible to deter people from defying the government or standing against corporate power in a peaceful and civil manner.  At a time when our health and very survival is being ripped from under us by corporate greed, we must be willing to stand stronger and more unified as we move forward with love and outrage.

A West Virginia native, Tim spoke at Powershift 2011 stating, “Mountaintop removal and climate change and all the other injustices that we are experiencing are not being driven solely by the coal industry, solely by lobbyists, or solely by the failure of our politicians. They’re also happening because of the cowardice of the environmental movement. We hold the power right here to create our vision of a healthy and just world, if we are willing to make the sacrifices to make it happen.”

Perched 80 feet up in the air in an oak and a tulip poplar, Becks Kolins and Catherine-Ann MacDougal and other fellow RAMPS campaigners are carrying the torch further and struggling harder to achieve the changes we are demanding.  Becks Kolins  said before raising themself into the trees, “The way the coal industry and politicians decide what is legal and illegal in this society is appalling. After I get down from the tree I am occupying, I will be arrested and sentenced to time in jail, for I am breaking the law. What about the CEOs of Alpha and other corporations who are strip mining innumerable mountains, poisoning communities, destroying priceless lands, and leaving a beautiful and culturally rich Appalachia poverty stricken? Those with the most power, those who are killing people, are able to get away with it, while I will be put in jail. I am tired of watching the powerful gain, while the working class lose.”

May we stand together from Appalachia to the redrock deserts of Utah and beyond.

For more info on Tim DeChristopher and ways to support, visit Peaceful Uprising.

One Response to “From the Mountains of West Virginia to the Canyons of Utah”

  1. Steven Smith says:

    There are many people standing behind these young folks! “Hang” in there. It’s a shame something like this has to happen in order to get the attention MTR deserves. Corporations blow up the mountains and people look the other way, while two young people sit in a tree it draws attention. Seems a little un balanced to me. KEEP UP THE GOOD WORK R.A.M.P.S.! This kind of civil disobedience is what it takes!

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