When Tim DeChristopher won a 2008 Bureau of Land Management auction for oil and gas leases, there was one catch: He didn’t have the money to pay for what he won. For that little bit of civil disobedience, DeChristopher was sentenced to two years in jail.

The Trust for Public Land, in contrast, intends to pay the money. From the Associated Press:

The Trust for Public Land plans to buy out 58,000 acres of oil and gas leases owned by Houston-based Plains Exploration and Production Co. for $8.75 million, the San Francisco-based group tells The Associated Press.

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The announcement opens a fundraising effort by the trust. Almost half the money needs to be raised if the deal is to be closed at the end of the year as the agreement requires. …

The deal would end PXP’s plan to drill 136 gas wells near the Hoback River headwaters inside Bridger-Teton National Forest, [near Jackson Hole and Grand Teton National Park in Wyoming]. Opponents said the project would pollute the air, harm wildlife and taint pristine streams in a rolling landscape of meadows and forest.

The current owner in this case isn’t the government, obviously, but in the future it will be. The Trust for Public Land intends to turn the leases over to the government.

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With a key condition: They can’t be sold at any point in the future.

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