ENVIRONMENT

Tim DeChristopher Released: Climate Activist Leaves Federal Prison After Serving 21 Months

Environmental activist Tim DeChristopher has been released from custody after serving 21 months in federal prison.

DeChristopher was arrested after an attempt to buy more than 22,000 acres of land in a 2008 oil and gas lease auction. His act of civil disobedience (done while he was still enrolled at the University of Utah) led to charges of making false statements and violating the Federal Onshore Oil and Gas Leasing Reform Act. He was sentenced to two years in prison and a $10,000 fine.

The auction was later negated and leases revoked after the Obama administration found that the land should have never even gone up for sale.

His trial lasted for over two years and his lawyers weren't allowed to use a defense that his actions were a lesser evil than allowing for oil and gas development and environmental harm.

He was vaulted back into the news last year after being placed in solitary confinement allegedly for using the word "threaten" in an email to a friend.

In an interview with Democracy Now's Amy Goodman following his release, DeChristopher said he didn't regret his decision and he fully understood the repercussions when he first raised his bidder paddle.

"I honestly can’t say that when I got into this in 2008 I understood everywhere that it would lead and the impact that it would have on me," he said. "It’s been a more positive experience than I ever could have anticipated. And it’s been a great growth experience for me, including my time of incarceration."

A documentary about his trial, "Bidder 70," will be screened around the country on Monday in celebration of Earth Day. DeChristopher will make his first public appearance at a screening and Q-and-A in Salt Lake City, which will be streamed over the Internet at 9 p.m. EDT on April 22.

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