As I’ve previously noted, I break with some on the right out of my own concern for rule of law, and I don’t have much sympathy for the Nevada rancher who’s simply disregarded the law because it’s inconvenient for him. Every word written about that situation is one wasted that should be used to talk about the Red River between Texas and Oklahoma.
I certainly am very concerned for folks living on the northern border of Texas and souther border of Oklahoma, who are facing the BLM taking 90,000 acres that is and was always private land.
BYERS, Texas (RFD-TV) Most people think the border between Texas and Oklahoma is the Red River. Unfortunately, it’s a little more complicated than that, especially along the part of the river where Tommy Henderson and his family ranch.
Henderson lost a lawsuit 30 years ago that moved part of the northern Texas border over a mile to the south.
The Bureau of Land Management [BLM] took 140 acres of his property and didn’t pay him one cent.
Now, they want to use his case as precedent to seize land along a 116-mile stretch of the river.
“They’re wanting to take the boundaries that the courts placed here and extend those east and west to the forks of the river north of Vernon and east to the 98th Meridian which is about 20 miles east of us,” Henderson explained.
BLM, which oversees public land in the United States, claims this land never belonged to Texas.
This is an issue for the states to deal with. As nice as it would be if the federal government actually did its job and made commerce regular by acting as a neutral party between disputes, the BLM has considered simply taking 90,000 acres of private land and making it off-limits.
“How can BLM come in and say, “Hey, this isn’t yours.” Even though it’s patented from the state, you’ve always paid taxes on it. Our family has paid taxes for over 100 years on this place. We’ve got a deed to it. But yet they walked in and said it wasn’t ours,” said Henderson.
It’s private property. It’s not a lease, it’s not public land, it’s private, and has been since Texas was an independent nation.
The border pretty much is the river. It isn’t that complicated… but it is a land grab.
Ever since the Louisiana Purchase in 1803, there has been controversy over where Oklahoma ends and Texas begins.
In layman’s terms the boundary is the vegetation line on the south side of the Red River.
Over time the river moves. This movement north toward Oklahoma is the sticking point.
The sandy soils erode in a process called accretion, which wipes out the bank. So the property line follows the river.
BLM claims that the river moved by another process called avulsion. With avulsion, the land may be changed by flood or currents, but the property line isn’t. So BLM claims that when the river moved back north the property line stayed put.
It doesn’t help that Oklahoma defines avulsion differently than Texas and the U.S.
“Originally, here the river was out there where it is now and it eroded and accreted up to here, and then it eroded and accreted back. Well, their interpretation is that it eroded up to here but avulsed back. So when you listen to them it is always erosion to the south because the property line follows it then, but it’s always avulsion when it goes north. So the boundary can move south but it can never move back north,” said Henderson.
That the BLM could come in and just take 90,000 acres and rule it off-limits because the river moved is absurd and is not their function. They’re not managing federal lands, they’re not dealing with delinquent grazing lessees, they’re taking land.