In response to the growing confusion over disputed land along the Texas-Oklahoma border, U.S. Sens. John Cornyn and Ted Cruz, R-Texas, and U.S. Rep. Mac Thornberry, TX-13, have introduced Senate and House legislation to direct the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) to transfer any land in Texas along the Red River to landowners who can prove through official records that they own the land outright.
“The BLM has created concern and confusion along a stretch of the Red River for Texas property owners who have in some cases owned their land for generations and continue to pay property taxes. This common-sense legislation establishes an orderly process to bring back certainty for these landowners and gives the BLM the tools they need to quickly resolve this situation,” Cornyn said.
“The right to property is one of the most basic rights of Americans, and it has empowered pioneers to create opportunity and fuel commerce since the founding of our nation. Unfortunately, despite our previously expressed concerns, the BLM made clear that it could continue to seek control of privately-owned lands along the Red River. It is imperative that we protect landowners from federal overreach, so today I am proud to join Senator Cornyn and Congressman Thornberry in introducing legislation that will prevent the federal government from unlawfully encroaching upon private property rights,” said Cruz.
“This uncertainty threatens the value of privately-owned land and has made it more difficult for property owners to make decisions,” said Thornberry. “It is essential that this issue be firmly and finally resolved so that landowners can be sure of their title. The bill contains the authority to make that happen.”
The bill would:
- Direct the BLM to relinquish and transfer by quit claim deed any land in Texas along the Red River to a landowner who can prove through official state or county records that they fully own the land;
- Require the BLM to issue a public notice of the process and accept all legitimate claims of ownership;
- Establish a 120-day time period in which the BLM must act on a request; and
- Ensure that BLM does not treat any land as public land for the Resource Management Plan until the secretary is sure they are not subject to transfer.