Animals & Money: The hero auction wrecker

Just before Christmas, an economics student in Utah figured out a way to help the environment by messing up the mechanics of an auction. The Bush administration had Bureau of Land Management auction offer a last minute auction to sell off 150,000 acres near Arches National Park.

Tim DeChristopher, 27, just started bidding when the government tried to auction off the land. That threw a wrench into the whole auction. He went home -- after a brief visit with police -- owning 22,000 acres of land and owing $1.7 million. But he also pushed the price up for oil developers. So much so that the whole auction results are now in question. The AP says buyers were given 10 days to decide if they paid too much. I don't think that offer applies to DeChristopher himself. They may have to have a do-over for the whole auction -- but that would be under the Obama administration.

DeChristopher didn't start off his day hoping to stand in the way of Bush's last minute sale to the oil industry. Instead, he went to his scheduled final exam. Amy Goodman reported in the Seattle Post Intelligencer that one of his exam questions was whether this very auction was fair since only the oil companies were bidding. That got him thinking.