BLM Land Grab- Red River Rumble Continues
Back in 2014, we reported on the BLM’s attempt to seize 90,000 acres from land owners along the Red River at the Texas/Oklahoma border. A new report from Fox News states that the situation continuing, with the Feds saying they are taking back what “belongs to them,” and the landowners still calling it a Federal land grab.
The landowners have been told they can “buy back” the land from the Federal government. Keep in mind that these are lands that have been in these families for literally decades and longer, land that is deeded to them and for which they have paid taxes. Buying it back is ludicrous.
“My grandfather bought this land and I have the deed for it. I’ve paid taxes on this property for decades.” Ken Aderholt, of Wilbarger County, Texas told Fox News.
In 1923, the Supreme Court ruled that the Red River is the boundary line between Texas and Oklahoma, and follows the meandering of the River. But the River Bottom was a little different. SCOTUS ruled that the Northern half belongs to Oklahoma, and the other half to the government.
[Pat] Canan said one day in 2008 he discovered a government monument in the middle of his pasture identifying the Texas-Oklahoma border. Based on the markers, the government claims roughly 1,400 of the 2,000 acres he has owned and paid taxes on for decades, he said.
“It’s our belief that it’s private property,” Canan, a petroleum engineer and Texas game warden, told Fox News.
“That land was originally deeded by the state of Texas to the landowners. There’s never been any disagreement between the state of Texas and Oklahoma over who owns it,” he said.
In 2015, landowners in 3 counties, Wichita, Clay and Wilbarger, filed a lawsuit against the BLM and Department of the Interior. The lawsuit states in part,
“The United States’ ownership of property is limited to bottom-half of the sandy riverbed outside of Texas. Nonetheless, BLM asserts that its boundary extends well past the riverbed into Texas and, in some instances, more than a mile outside of its lawful territory. In doing so, BLM has seized private property, infringed upon the sovereignty of the local county governments, and interfered with law enforcement’s ability to discharge its duties arising under Texas law.”
Senator John Coryn and Rep Mac Thornberry have sided with the landowners in this dispute and filed a bill in January 2017 designed to resolve this situation.
A hearing in Federal court over the lawsuit is set for July. An attorney for the landowners stated,
“The U.S. Supreme court case is clear in that it established the boundary of federal territory at the south bank of the Red River. Beyond that is my clients’ private property and it is outrageous for the government to suggest they should have to buy back what they already own.” Robert Hennecke, Texas Public Policy Foundation