BLM eyes 90,000 acres in TX

The Bureau of Land Management is apparently trying to take advantage of an arcane and long running boundary dispute between Texas and Oklahoma to seize tens of thousands of privately held acreage along the border for the federal government.

The complex issue involves a small stretch of the Red River that changes shape over short periods of time, thus altering the border between the two states. The Supreme Court has tried to resolve the issue twice over the past 100 years and failed. A 2000 agreement between the two states awaits congressional approval. Meanwhile, the BLM, seeing an opportunity to do some land grabbing, is studying which slice of land along the border they can seize.


“In Texas,” Miller says, “the BLM is attempting a repeat of an action taken over 30 years ago along the Red River when Tommy Henderson lost a federal lawsuit. The Bureau of Land Management took 140 acres of his property and didn’t pay him one cent.”

Miller referred to a 1986 case where the BLM attempted to seize some of Henderson’s land. Henderson sued the BLM and lost 140 acres that had been in his family for generations. Now the BLM is looking at using the prior case as a precedent to claim an additional 90,000 acres.

Congressman Mac Thornberry (R-TX) represents the ranchers in this region of north Texas. According to Thornberry’s legislative analysts, the issue of the ownership of this land dates back to the Louisiana Purchase of 1803. When the BLM made the claim on Henderson’s land, their position was that Texas never had the authority to deed the land to private parties and therefore it would fall under federal control.


According to a BLM document provided to Breitbart Texas courtesy Rep. Thornberry’s staff, the BLM is going through a scoping period where they are gathering facts on land whose ownership they believe to be in question in Texas, Oklahoma and Kansas. The BLM is in the process of developing a Resource Management Plan. The plan will cover a total of 411,585 square miles, or 263 million acres of land. The BLM describes its “decision area as about 104,000 acres of BLM administered surface lands, 593,000 acres of split-estate land (private land with federal mineral interests) and 5,270,000 acres of federal mineral interests on land managed by other federal agencies."

Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott, who is running for governor, raised echoes of old Texas during the days of the republic when he threatened to go to the disputed area and fly a "Come and Take It" flag -  a banner of defiance raised by Texicans prior to the Battle of Gonzales. 

“I am about ready,” General Abbott told Breitbart Texas, “to go to the Red River and raise a ‘Come and Take It’ flag to tell the feds to stay out of Texas.”

Gen. Abbott sent a strongly-worded letter to BLM Director Neil Kornze, asking for answers to a series of questions related to the potential land grab. 

“I am deeply concerned about the notion that the Bureau of Land Management believes the federal government has the authority to swoop in and take land that has been owned and cultivated by Texas landowners for generations,” General Abbott wrote. “The BLM’s newly asserted claims to land along the Red River threaten to upset long-settled private property rights and undermine fundamental principles—including the rule of law—that form the foundation of our democracy. Yet, the BLM has failed to disclose either its full intentions or the legal justification for its proposed actions. Decisions of this magnitude must not be made inside a bureaucratic black box.”

In an exclusive interview with Breitbart Texas, General Abbott said, “This is the latest line of attack by the Obama Administration where it seems like they have a complete disregard for the rule of law in this country ...And now they’ve crossed the line quite literally by coming into the State of Texas and trying to claim Texas land as federal land. And, as the Attorney General of Texas I am not going to allow this.”

The Bundy incident has raised the temperature out west with regard to federal control of lands. It's being referred to as a "Sagebrush Rebellion" but in truth, it is far more than that. It is a revolt against government overreach, government intimidation, and the militarization of government.

I don't think the BLM or any federal agency is smart enough to recognize this, which is why the potental for a shooting war to break out is more than just idle speculation. Not just at the Bundy ranch, but everywhere a land dispute is in progress, agencies of the federal government have a responsibility to deal with citizens fairly, and forthrightly. The BLM is demonstrating they have no intention of doing either.