Skip to content

DNR Land Auction met with resistance in Lansing

October 25, 2012

On Wednesday, the Michigan Department of Natural Resources (DNR) hosted one of its bi-annual auctions for leasing mineral rights for oil & gas companies across the state.

We reported about the resistance to the DNR land auction in May, since the method known as fracking is becoming more common as a means to extract natural gas throughout the country. At the DNR auction that took place yesterday, there was another wave of resistance that involved numerous tactics.

Registration for the DNR auction began at 8am on October 24 and dozens of people were already outside holding signs in opposition to the auctioning off of land rights to companies only interested in profits and not environmental protection or public health.

In addition to those who protested outside, some people released a banner attached to balloons inside, while others who sat in the room where the auction was taking place began to express their opposition to the land auction through chants and signs.

At one point several people stepped over the divider separating the public seating and the bidder seating, locked arms and sat of the floor in an act of civil disobedience. Simultaneously, there were some noise tools released to disrupt the auction and then the whole room began chanting in opposition to fracking and the arrest of those who sat down.

Nearly everyone who wasn’t a bidder, which included about 60 people, continued chanting for sometime, until one protestor got everyone’s attention by using a technique commonly used during Occupy gatherings. The protestor said mic-check and people stopped chanting. Then this person told us that the cops were now going to tell the rest of those in the room what “their rights were.”

This was an unfortunate outcome, since it not only took away the momentum from the crowd, it also gave legitimacy to the police.

A DNR cop told those in the room who were attempting to disrupt the DNR auction, that if they spoke up or made any kind of noise once the auction process began that they would be “evicted from the space or arrested.”

Now everyone is quiet and the auction is able to proceed. However, once they began bidding on public land for oil & gas rights and announcing that specific parcels of land were sold, people began to say, “stolen, not sold. This land is now stolen.” When people began say this they were quickly approached by DNR officers, grabbed and escorted out of the room.

Once out of the room, officers took down information and told each person removed from the auction that they had to leave the building and if they re-entered they would be immediately arrested.

This tactic of verbally disrupting he auction went on for some time and dozens of people were forced to leave the Lansing Center, where the DNR auction was being held. Many people then gathered out front and either continued to have a physical presence in opposition to the DNR granting fracking rights to private companies or they talk with people from other communities, networking and talking about upcoming events and action possibilities.

Later on in the day the fire alarm in the Lansing Center went off, which brought the fire department in and over a hundred high school students out who were attending another event inside. However, when the student came out, many of them joined in with the protestors, chanting, holding signs and getting an education in the politics of fracking.

In addition to this there were people who were doing jail solidarity, since at least six people were arrested and being detained by the DNR police and held at the Lansing City jail. A lawyer and several other activists were able to determine that those arrested were being charge with both felonies and misdemeanors and would not be arraigned until the next day (Thursday).

Charging people with felonies was clearly a tactic to not only intimidate people, but to send a message to future actions that might try to disrupt or shut down a DNR land auction.

However, lots of people pitched in funds and by the time this writer left, it appeared that enough money was raised to bail out people who had been arrested. Anyone wanting to financially supports those who were arrested, you can contribute at this link

Many people were still involved in protesting the DNR auction even at 3pm, when this writer left the Lansing Center area and it was clear that a diverse group of people came from all over the state with the intent to protest and disrupt the DNR land auction that will allow oil & gas companies to drilling and extract fossil fuels from public land.

The Resistance Continues!

21 Comments leave one →
  1. bail permalink
    October 25, 2012 12:05 pm

    People can donate money to the bail fund here:

  2. Felix permalink
    October 25, 2012 4:40 pm

    You forgot to mention that the protesters smeared feces in the restrooms and left turkey necks in the Lansing Center. The Lansing Center does not necessarily share the views of the DNR, the DNR just booked an event at the venue.

  3. Janice Kreider permalink
    October 25, 2012 8:21 pm

    I agree, the vandalism in the bathrooms was extreme, unnecessary and counter productive. Does NOT help the cause at all! Shame on whoever did it….

  4. October 25, 2012 8:29 pm

    You are making the claim that “the protestors” smeared feces all over the bathrooms, but I have not heard in any news source that this is the case. Did the both of you witness this or is this just an attempt to discredit those of us who went to the DNR auction to disrupt/shut down the sale of public land for profit?

  5. Karen Fifelski permalink
    October 25, 2012 8:39 pm

    I was proud to be a part of this protest. This was the 1st time in my life I have protested in public. I was proud to see college students with such a love for our state and environment. Unfortunately, we are only being patronized by the DNR,DEQ and our state representatives. It appears that the unsafe practice of horizontal hydraulic fracturing will continue. Instead of the onus being on the oi/gas companies to prove this procedure is safe, the citizens have to prove over and over and over again it isn’t. The environmental laws were developed and put in place for a reason, past greed and ignorance caused problems in the past. What are we waiting for. Evidently our reps and oil/gas companies are just waiting for fatter pockets. I am so disappointed in our system as it represents itself at this time. Karen Fifelski

  6. Karen Fifelski permalink
    October 26, 2012 2:08 am

    I’m sorry if there were some that were so disrespectful – speaking to the feces and the chicken necks. If that was from some of the protesters, that wasn’t necessary. We have a legitimate gripe, and that type of action takes away from our legitimacy.

  7. seymour buttz permalink
    October 26, 2012 3:32 am

    That poop vandalism was definitely extreme,,,


    All power to the phantom shitters!
    Liberation means defecation!

  8. Shawn permalink
    October 26, 2012 12:48 pm

    I have been unable to find any reports that this occured, let alone any evidence linking it to the portesters. I was present at the event and went in multiple bathrooms and saw no such mess.

  9. Jeff Smith permalink*
    October 26, 2012 1:19 pm

    Even if the claims made by those commenting above are truly, I don’t think such actions are disrespectful. What is disrespectful, actually criminal, is what the DNR & DEQ are allowing to happen through the sale of mineral rights to companies that are poisoning the land and water of Michigan.

    We need as many tactics as possible to stop this kind of ecocide from occurring and to stop cooperating with those in power as they clearly have demonstrated no interest in protecting the land and water in communities across the state.

  10. October 26, 2012 5:39 pm

    To all the protestors, keep acting like the childish, ignorant hypocrites that you are. It does your cause a lot of good. Gotta love disrespectful liberals.

  11. Hayduke Rochester permalink
    October 26, 2012 5:41 pm

    1) This Event was Beautiful. Its also a shame to let the internet discussion go into debate about a mess in the bathrooms. 2) I used the bathrooms near the auction and there was no feces or any other problems. Though i did hear that there was peanut butter in the bathrooms near a the high school art fair that had 300 high schoolers attending. 3) The lansing center did agree to profit off the event by hosting it. 4) the event was very inspirational and hopefully this will seem relaxed compared to future auctions. The next one is may

  12. Dakoda permalink
    October 26, 2012 8:37 pm

    The purpose of any vandalism that may or may not have happened was to discourage the venue from hosting this event again. The same idea was employed during the WTO summit in Seattle. Without radical action, there would have been nothing special about this protest. 50 people standing outside with signs won’t change anything. Direct action is what we need, not creating spectacle.

  13. October 26, 2012 8:39 pm

    Dakoda, thanks for your comments. Direct Action is what is needed, in all forms.

  14. Felix permalink
    November 7, 2012 4:52 pm

    The Lansing Center is a non-profit building owned by the City of Lansing. All revenue made from events held goes into maintaining the building and paying the employees who work within it.


  1. Interview with Attorney Ellis Boal on legal case against fracking in Michigan « Grand Rapids Institute for Information Democracy
  2. Mutual Aid GR hosting a meeting on anti-fracking activism this Friday « Grand Rapids Institute for Information Democracy
  3. WZZM 13 story gives more weight to pro-fracking voices « Grand Rapids Institute for Information Democracy
  4. MLAWD featured on WZZM13 | Michigan Land Air Water Defense
  5. Public Forum on Fracking in Kent County set for Monday, March 25 | Grand Rapids Institute for Information Democracy
  6. Fracking in Our Back Yard
  7. Fracking in Our Back Yard

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: