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Tim DeChristopher: ‘I don’t regret it’

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Posted at 7:20 PM, Apr 22, 2013
and last updated 2013-04-23 01:50:02-04

SALT LAKE CITY -- Tim DeChristopher was greeted with hugs and cheers on his first full day of freedom.

"I'm really excited about it!" said his friend, Krista Bowers. "It's been a long time coming."

DeChristopher, who sabotaged an auction of oil and gas leases near some of Utah's most pristine landmarks back in 2008, served more than two years in federal custody in prisons and halfway houses.

DeChristopher, then a college student at the University of Utah, was protesting the auction of oil and gas leases in southeastern Utah. He walked into the auction and was given a bidder card -- Bidder 70 -- and began running up the bids for the parcels of land.

In an interview with FOX 13 on Monday, DeChristopher said he had no regrets.

"No, not at all. I don't regret it," he said. "Because I've dealt with the consequences at this point and found that I could deal with those just fine. Prison turned out to be far less scary than I expected."

[Watch raw video of the interview]

Asked if he would do it again, DeChristopher said: "Yeah, I would do it again."

"If given the opportunity, absolutely," he said. "I think it's had a lot of positive impacts and I could certainly deal with the consequences that I had to face."

Since he was released from federal prison, DeChristopher has been working at a local bookstore. He is preparing to enroll at the Harvard Divinity School later this summer -- to become a Unitarian minister.

DeChristopher said he would continue to remain active in social justice and environmental issues.

"I think my action has been one factor in a lot of things that have created a big shift in the movement," he said.

His act of civil disobedience has breathed some new life into the modern-day environmental movement. Throughout his trial and at his sentencing, hundreds protested in downtown Salt Lake City and across the nation for the man who became known as "Bidder 70" (the bid card he was given during the BLM auction).

He appeared Monday at a screening of "Bidder 70," a documentary about his trial and activism. Lines to see the film -- and him -- stretched around the block. The 300-seat Tower Theatre quickly sold out.

DeChristopher said more attention must be paid to climate change.

"I think the movement keeps going because it needs to keep going," he said. "It keeps going because there's a real threat and a real crisis we're facing."