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SALT LAKE CITY (AP) -- In an effort to avoid prosecution, the environmental activist who infiltrated a government auction has raised $45,000 to make a down payment on oil-and-gas drilling parcels he won near Arches and Canyonlands national parks in Utah.
Tim DeChristopher, a college economics student, bid up prices at the auction and ended up winning 13 parcels in an effort, he says, to protect wild lands in Utah.
DeChristopher hopes the money, raised largely in small amounts from hundreds of supporters, keeps him from getting indicted on possible auction fraud charges.
The Bureau of Land Management insists it's too late for DeChristopher to make the down payment because the deposit was due immediately after last month's auction.
(Copyright 2009 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)