As the House continues to repeal Obama-era regulations, it has also voted to correct a specific regulatory abuse in our area. Last week, we passed the “Red River Gradient Boundary Survey Act,” H.R. 428, which I introduced earlier this year, by a vote of 250-171. It is an important bill for our part of Texas and for private landowners everywhere.
For many years, the federal government has claimed ownership of a strip of land along the Red River between Texas and Oklahoma. But the Bureau of Land Management (BLM), the federal agency responsible, has never conducted a survey to determine exactly where the federal land is. Instead, it has made various claims over the years, including one in 2013 that it owned up to 90,000 more acres than it had ever claimed before.
As a result, private landowners along the River are unsure whether the land that they hold title to and have paid taxes on, in some cases for generations, will remain in their families or be confiscated by the federal government. Since December 2013, my office has held multiple meetings, phone calls, and other discussions with landowners, interested groups, as well as local and state officials, to coordinate action.
H.R. 428 requires the BLM to do what it should have done all along – conduct a full survey of the area using the appropriate survey method. BLM has said publicly and in court filings that it has no plans to do so. Apparently, they prefer to leave their claims vague and landowners on edge.
Passing this bill is an important step toward providing these landowners with the legal certainty they deserve. Senator Cornyn is working to get it passed in the Senate and on its way to the President.
The issue is important to the affected landowners, but it is also important to all of us who know that private property rights is a foundational cornerstone of our economy and of our way of life. I am grateful to all of the organizations, including the Texas and Oklahoma Farm Bureaus and the Texas and Southwestern Cattle Raisers who have helped work on this issue.
We will continue working until this issue is resolved once and for all. You can watch my floor speech on the bill by clicking the picture below.
I invite you to learn more about this issue and others by visiting my website here. Have a question you would like answered? Please contact me by phone, letter, e-mail, on Facebook, or on Twitter.
As always, I appreciate hearing from you.
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