A US District Court Monday cleared the way for the State of Texas to join landowners in a lawsuit against the federal Bureau of Land Management.
Governor Greg Abbott announced the “good news” yesterday, tweeting the state would be allowed to intervene in a complaint filed by nine private landowners, a county sheriff and three Texas counties challenging the federal agency’s “unconstitutional and arbitrary seizure of thousands of acres of private property along the Red River.”
— Greg Abbott (@GregAbbott_TX) March 15, 2016
The lawsuit, which Governor Abbott had previously thrown his support behind, contends the BLM is encroaching on private land in violation of citizens’ Fourth and Fifth Amendment rights, as well as “infringing upon the sovereignty of local county governments.”
In a press release entitled, “Texans’ Property Rights Must Be Preserved,” State Attorney General Ken Paxton explained the BLM is “inaccurately and arbitrarily” attempting to assert ownership of some 90,000 acres along 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,” Paxton said. “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.”
Landowners, including Harold rancher Ken Aderholt, claim the BLM was ignoring land deeds bestowed to them by the Lone Star State nearly 75 years ago.
“The BLM is saying we should have never had a deed to it. That Texas should have never produced that deed,” Aderholt said last year.
Since the 2014 standoff at the Bundy Ranch in Nevada, the BLM has repeatedly found itself receiving negative coverage its controversial policies toward land acquisition.
Just last January, footage from a 2005 retirement celebration for Mojave National Preserve Superintendent Mary Martin showed BLM employees openly celebrating the common agency practice of taking land from private property owners for pennies on the dollar.
Read the lawsuit below: