In a statement posted on the U.S. Bureau of Land Management website (BLM), federal officials denied any expansion of holdings along the Red River after Breitbart Texas brought the matter to national attention. The nuanced denial has drawn critical reactions from a number of elected Texas officials.
BLM spokesman Paul McGuire said “The 140-acres in question were determined to be public land in 1986 when the U.S. District Court ruled on a case brought by two private landowners, each seeking to adjust boundary lines for their respective properties. The BLM was not a party to any litigation between landowners. The 140-acres were at no time held in private ownership.”
Jerry Stickland in Office of the Texas Attorney General took exception to the BLM’s statement. In response to an inquiry from Breitbart Texas, “In 1994, the BLM said that depending on the outcome of the Red River Boundary Compact, there might be an additional 90,000 acres of land under BLM’s control despite the fact that most if not all of that acreage was owned, used and cultivated by Texans.”
“The Red River Boundary Compact was ratified by Congress in 2000 and BLM now appears to have re-raised the possibility of seizing 90,000 acres along the Red River during recent field hearings. Texans still deserve to know what, if any, additional land BLM intends to federalize. The BLM should definitively state that it has no title and does not seek any claim to the 90,000 acres along the Red River–and until it does, Texas will be forced to pursue all available legal options,” Stickland concluded.
Commissioner Patterson told Breitbart Texas, “The Red River situation is very unusual when it comes to river boundaries between states.” He explained that in most cases, the states retain ownership up to the middle of the river. However, because of an odd set of circumstances in this case, the BLM actually appears to own the area from the center of the river to the southern vegetation line.
Texas State Senators Craig Estes (R-Wichita Falls) and Robert Duncan (R-Lubbock) both represent farmers and ranchers who are potentially affected by this potential BLM land grab. The Senators called on Governor Rick Perry and Texas Land Commissioner Jerry Patterson in letters to come to the assistance of their constituents who are deeply troubled by the possible loss of private lands.
The Senators also contacted Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott to request legal assistance.
Rep. Stickland is leading a contingent of concerned Texas Legislators and other officials to the Red River Region near Wichita Falls on April 28.
Follow Bob Price on Twitter @BobPriceBBTX