AUSTIN – On March 14 Attorney General Ken Paxton announced that a federal court granted Texas’ intervention in a case against the Bureau of Land Management, which seeks to establish recognition of Texas boundary by challenging federal encroachment on Lone Star land near the Red River.
“Washington D.C. needs to hear, loud and clear, that Texas will not stand for the federal government’s infringement upon Texas land and the property rights of the people who live here,” said Paxton. “The federal government must follow the law and recognize our correct borders, consistent with decisions of the U.S. Supreme Court defining the boundary formed by the Red River.
The plaintiffs filed their suit Nov. 16 in the U.S. District Court for Northern Texas, Wichita Falls Division.
The following day, Gov. Greg Abbott announced his support of the landowners and county officials in their lawsuit against the BLM.
Along with numerous landowners, other Red River plaintiffs in the suit include Wichita County, Clay County and Wilbarger County. Clay County Sheriff Kenneth Lemons Jr. is also a plaintiff.
In their suit, the plaintiffs maintain a 1923 Supreme Court ruling reaffirmed that the south cut bank, or the southern gradient boundary, was the northern border of Texas.
They seek a judgment that finding that the Defendants have no right to the property outside of the vegetation line of the south bank of the Red River.
A month prior to the litigation, on Oct. 16 Abbott sent a letter to BLM Director Neil Kornze, who is also a defendant in the suit, urging him to end his agency’s attempt to encroach on the property rights of Texans living on the Red River.
Pursuant to various U.S. Supreme Court cases in the 1920s, the federal government only has rights to a narrow part of the Red River up to its southern bank. The federal government, however, claims that it owns up to 90,000 acres of Texas property along 117 miles of the Red River, much of it miles from the banks of the Red River.
According to a press release, the BLM’s failure and refusal to conduct a proper and complete boundary survey along the Red River directly injures the state’s ability to demand recognition of its boundary. The federal government’s inaccurate and arbitrary claim to land located in Texas conflicts with the requirements of the U.S. Supreme Court.
Case No. 7:15-cv-00162