April 6, 2017
AUSTIN – Attorney General Ken Paxton today praised the Trump administration for suspending three U.S. Bureau of Land Management (BLM) surveys from the Obama-era that the BLM used to justify a land grab involving 90,000 acres near the Red River.
The federal action was prompted by the BLM’s admission earlier this week that it used “incorrect methodology” while determining the gradient boundary on a portion of the 116-mile stretch of Texas properties along the Red River. Attorney General Paxton intervened in November 2015 on behalf of the state in a lawsuit brought against the BLM by affected property owners.
“This latest action by the Trump administration protects the property rights of Texans as defined by the U.S. Supreme Court and prevents the federal government from infringing upon Texas’ sovereign borders,” Attorney General Paxton said. “It was our contention all along that the BLM’s surveys were conducted improperly and unlawfully. We will vigilantly defend Texas’ border from federal overreach.”
Pursuant to various U.S. Supreme Court cases in the 1920s, the federal government only has rights to from the Red River’s medial line up to the river’s southern bank. The BLM began its surveys in 2008 as part of an Obama-era process to update the Bureau’s Resource Management Plan. Those surveys claimed federal rights to land far from the river’s southern bank. That was reportedly the first time Texas landowners were told that the federal government was claiming their properties as public lands.