Two years ago, when the Bush administration was coming to a close, the BLM tried to rush large pieces of land off to auction for oil and gas drilling leases. In an effort to prevent drilling development, Tim--then a University of Utah graduate student--attended the auction. On a whim, he joined as Bidder 70 and successfully bid on 22,500 acres of land in southern Utah (clearly with no intention to drill), saving it from its dreadful fate. The only problem: he didn't have the money. His act of peaceful civil disobedience came with a price tag he didn't plan for--$1.7 million and possible jail time.
You can read one of Tim's personal statements about his actions here.
Apparently his act of peace was in violation of the Federal Onshore Oil and Gas Leasing Reform Act and is considered a felony, because he interfered with and made false representations at a government auction. His trial started February 28. You can follow his trial and learn much more about his story on PeacefulUprising.org
Ironically, the Obama administration later deemed the BLM auction illegal, because it violated the Secretarial Order 3226, a law mandating that the Department of Interior, which includes the BLM, must take into account potential climate change impacts on all major decisions involving resource extraction (i.e. more oil and gas = more greenhouse gases = more climate change). Unfortunately this did not absolve Tim from his "crime."
Tim sets an empowering example to citizen activists, to say the least. It is terribly twisted that he be reprimanded for a peaceful act he committed for the betterment of the world, but it is hopeful to know there are people, like him, bold enough to take such action. I hope his jury listens to their voices of reason and recognizes the bigger picture of what he set out to do.
Read more here and here.