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Thornberry files legal brief in Red River landowners' lawsuit
U.S. Congressman Mac Thornberry (R-Clarendon) along with Texas Republican Senators John Cornyn and Ted Cruz and 19 representatives today filed an amicus brief in the case of Aderholt et al. v. Bureau of Land Management et al. The lawsuit, which was filed on behalf of landowners along the Red River by the Texas Public Policy Foundation, seeks to protect the landowners’ property rights from claims by the federal government’s Bureau of Land Management (BLM).
“There are two fronts in this fight against the federal government’s land grab along the Red River: one is the legislation that Sen. Cornyn and I have introduced, which passed the House in December, and the other is through the courts with this lawsuit,” Thornberry said. “Until there is a fair resolution in this matter, we will not let up in our efforts to assure landowners that their private property rights will be protected. This legal brief makes it clear that BLM has exceeded its authority under the law.”
The dispute began in December 2013 when BLM announced it was beginning the process to revise its Resource Management Plan for lands it manages. The agency says there are thousands of acres along the Red River that may be considered public domain. The 116-mile stretch of land spans Wilbarger, Wichita, and Clay counties. Because of the uncertainty and questions about BLM’s claim, landowners are unable to sell, borrow against, or improve their land.
Thornberry’s office has held multiple meetings, phone calls, and other correspondence with landowners, as well as local and state officials, to coordinate action. Last year, Thornberry introduced the “Red River Private Property Protection Act,” H.R. 2130, which passed the House in December by a vote of 253-177. Sen. Cornyn has introduced similar legislation in the Senate.
Other plaintiffs in the lawsuit include Clay, Wichita, and Wilbarger counties and Clay County Sheriff Kenny Lemons. The State of Texas and the Texas General Land Office have each been granted motions to intervene in the lawsuit by a federal judge.
Thornberry filed the amicus brief with the support of Sens. John Cornyn and Ted Cruz and Reps. Kevin Brady, Michael Burgess, John Carter, Mike Conaway, John Culberson, Blake Farenthold, Bill Flores, Louie Gohmert, Kay Granger, Jeb Hensarling, Sam Johnson, Kenny Marchant, Michael McCaul, Randy Neugebauer, Ted Poe, John Ratcliffe, Pete Sessions, Randy Weber, and Roger Williams.
You can view a copy of the amicus brief clicking here.
You can download video interview footage for news purposes on this issue by clicking here.
You can view a backgrounder on this issue by clicking here.