Texas ranchers fight BLM to keep their land

WICHITA COUNTY, Tex. (KAUZ/CNN) – The Federal Bureau of Land Management (BLM) is being called into question as it pushes to take away land that currently belongs to Texas landowners.

The land is on the Red River Border of Texas and Oklahoma.

An attorney says the BLM is laying claim to nearly 90-thousand acres.

“In 1923, the Supreme Court set a gradient line as a boundary but they qualified that opinion by saying as the line is as changed by erosion and accretion, which either increases land or decreases land depending on where the river moves and as a result, that boundary line changes, well this is important because BLM owns no property in Texas other than what they’ve bought, Texas was a republic and as such, federal government doesn’t own anything in Texas,” attorney Billy T. Elder said.

Landowner Kevin Hunter says he has bought this land, pays taxes on this land and says the BLM has no right taking his land away.

“I don’t know, it’s my land, I’m not going to let them take it, I’m not going to let them take it, hopefully people will feel the same way that I do, it’s mine,” Hunter said.

Charlotte Spragins, another landowner on the Red River, says it’s distressful that the federal government is allowed to do this to the citizens.

“And you’re in part of that land, grazing lands, crop lands, and so if the government takes it away and gives it to the public, then that’s taking food out of somebody’s mouth,” Spragins said. “This is the beginning maybe of something that I don’t believe anybody wants.”

In 2008 the BLM went onto what is still considered the Texas boundary and placed markers indicating the Texas/Oklahoma state line.

Elder says since the boundary is a gradient line the BLM has no authority.

“You can’t just go out there and set a marker and say this is the boundary line because it changes with erosion and accretion,” Elder said.

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