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Bundy Ranch Repeat Brewing On The Red River


The Texas – Oklahoma border on the Red River is the latest flashpoint in the growing property rights war between overreaching federal bureaucrats and private citizen landowners.

Breitbart’s Bob Price reports that the Bureau of Land Management (the rogue federal agency that precipitated the Bundy Ranch standoff in Nevada) is considering seizing 90,000 acres of private land along the Red River that forms part of the border between Texas and Oklahoma.

The BLM is now contemplating the same strategy it used some 30 years ago to deprive Texas rancher Tommy Henderson of 140 acres of his property without paying him one cent to gain control of more land in the Red River area.

According to Representative Mac Thornberry’s staff, the issue of the ownership of this land dates back to the Louisiana Purchase of 1803. When the BLM made the claim on Henderson’s land, their position was that Texas never had the authority to deed the land to private parties and therefore it would fall under federal control.

According to Breitbart’s Price, the U.S. Supreme Court attempted to settle the boundary dispute in Oklahoma v. Texas and declared the boundary to be defined by wooden stakes set on the river bank. But as Price observed, that boundary apparently lasted no longer than anyone could expect wooden stakes to last in the shifting sands of a meandering river. In 2000, Texas and Oklahoma’s legislatures agreed to a “Red River Boundary Compact” which defined the border between the states as the southern vegetation line.

In 2000, Texas and Oklahoma’s legislatures agreed to a “Red River Boundary Compact” which defined the border between the states as the southern vegetation line. According to the Constitution, Congress must ratify agreements of this kind between the states (Article 1, Section 10, Clause 3) which was done when Congressman Thornberry introduced House Joint Resolution 72 during the 106th Congress which was passed and signed by the President to become Public Law No: 106-288.

Ostensibly the issue that has once again brought the BLM into the picture is a state dispute between Texas and Oklahoma, and federal rights accrued through the 212 year-old Louisiana Purchase, but the real issue is not whether the land in question is rightly or wrongly in private hands; it is who controls the public lands in Texas.

Texas is the only western state with no significant federal landholdings outside of parks and military installations because when the Republic of Texas came into the Union it claimed title to all the lands not then in private hands within the state borders. 

The Republic of Texas had a policy of attracting settlers and encouraging them to build wealth through the protection of private property rights and eventually those Texas lands were deeded to private parties. 

In many cases the lands currently eyed by the federal government have been in Texas families for generations, but were the BLM to pursue its claim to the Red River lands vast areas of Texas could be open to a similar challenge and eventual federal control.

The great Texas oil boom of the 20th century, and the vast expansion and wealth of Texas cities, such as Dallas, Ft. Worth and Houston that accompanied it, all took place on private property without much federal interference. Likewise the newer shale plays, such as the Cline shale are outside of federal control.

The Red River lies between the Barnett shale in Texas and the Woodford in Oklahoma and some observers are beginning to wonder if controlling the water and energy potential of the region isn’t behind the sudden federal interest in the Red River private property.

Citizen outrage continues to rise and were federal bureaucrats attempt another land grab using the Henderson case as precedent the situation along the Red River could become another Bundy Ranch-style confrontation between citizens protecting their private property and overreaching federal bureaucrats.

Organizers with the Oklahoma Militia, that claims nearly 50,000 volunteers, say they currently have members in Nevada helping to defend Cliven Bundy’s ranch. 

Members say they are taking Bundy’s side and fear the BLM's practices there could spread to the Sooner State.

Scott Shaw told Oklahoma City’s News Channel 4, “Evidently in America we don’t actually own the property anymore if you ever did.”

Shaw says Oklahoma Militia members are ready to take up arms against the federal government if needed.

He said, “It’s up to the feds. The ball’s in their court! You can do this legally or if you want to try to do a land grab violently, you can do that. We’re going to resist you!”

Shaw says the militia has not had to defend Oklahoma from the government yet but members are becoming concerned.

Shaw said, “Just look around the country, they are doing it everywhere. If they can do it in Nevada, they can do it in Colorado, Texas. I mean, what’s to stop them from coming to Oklahoma? The only thing to stop them is ‘We the People’.”

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