With the public already steaming over the increasingly lawless and out-of-control federal government, top Texas leaders on both sides of the aisle were quick to react after recent reports suggested the Obama administration’s Bureau of Land Management was plotting yet another unconstitutional land grab. This time, the BLM is reportedly eying some 90,000 acres along the Red River on the Texas-Oklahoma border. From the governor’s office to the attorney general to the legislature, however, the message from Texans was loud and clear: “Don’t Mess With Texas.”
Already facing nationwide outrage and criticism over its extreme tactics at the Bundy ranch in Nevada, the BLM, of course, was quick to deny the reports — sort of. It issued a dubious statement claiming that the administration was not actually planning any more new heists. “The BLM is not — I can say categorically — not seeking to seize any privately held land along the Red River,” bureau “Public Affairs Specialist” Paul McGuire was quoted as saying, with the double-negative presumably unintentional.
However, there are some caveats, it seems. According to news reports, the BLM claims that even though citizens have been buying, selling, and using certain lands between the middle of the Red River and its south gradient bank, that area is not in fact private property. A 1988 court ruling against a landowner there, in which he lost a significant chunk of his property to authorities, apparently gives the federal government “precedent.” No “comprehensive land survey” by the BLM has yet been performed, officials said, but agency is now taking some “initial steps.”
The BLM claims that it is simply creating a “resource management plan” while engaged in a broader, multi-state “review” of the lands it claims to own. It is also working to help determine the boundary between supposed “federal” land and private property. “What we are trying to do,” the BLM “public affairs specialist” claimed, “is to determine how and whether these lands can be managed for the benefit of the American people.” That language alone, though, sparked more alarm.
Either way, at the highest levels of state government, Republican and Democrat officials across Texas indicated that they were not buying the BLM’s denials. Top Lone Star State leaders also said it appeared that the federal agency was threatening private-property owners in the region by claiming ownership over private land that has been owned, maintained, and cultivated by Texans for generations. Responding to the reports of more potential land grabs, top officials promptly put their foot down.
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