SALT LAKE CITY – A Utah environmental activist has been sentenced to two years in prison for derailing a 2008 government auction of oil and gas leases near two national parks.
Tim DeChristopher was also given three years of probation and fined $10,000 on Tuesday. He was taken into custody immediately.
He was convicted of interfering with and making false representations at a government auction in March. The maximum sentence was 10 years in prison.
The 29-year-old former wilderness guide is the first person to be prosecuted for failing to make good on bids at a lease auction of Utah public lands. He ran up bids on 13 parcels totaling more than 22,000 acres near Arches and Canyonlands national parks.
DeChristopher says it was a civil disobedience act. Prosecutors wanted a stiff sentence, saying his lies harmed others.
The case has become a symbol of solidarity for environmentalists, including celebrities such as folk singer Peter Yarrow.
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