While the eyes of the nation are focused upon the rural Nevada town of Bunkerville and the Bundy Ranch, another significant land grab is underway in the other half of the country. While less physically confrontational at present, government oppression is none the less at the root of a dispute on the border between Oklahoma and Texas. It’s an on-going process, following the migration of the Red River, which the feds define differently dependent upon their their “needs.”
Tommy Henderson lost a lawsuit thirty years ago and with it 140 acres of his ranchland. The BLM victory resulted in the Oklahoma/Texas border being redrawn a mile to the south of where it had previously been.
Henderson received nothing in exchange for his land. Not one cent, and the BLM is back for more. This time they’ve got their eyes on roughly 90,000 acres. And they are employing similar tactics to what won for them in the eighties.
BLM seeks to use the previous lawsuit as precedent in their attempt to steal land along a 116 mile stretch of the Red River. The natural migration of the Red River is at the heart of the dispute and the opportunity being seized upon by the Feds.
BLM is making a claim that the land never belonged to Texas, which the landowners vehemently dispute.
Tommy Henderson explains the absurdity of the BLM claims. He asks, “How can BLM come in and say ‘Hey, this isn’t yours’ even though it was patented from the state, you’ve always paid taxes on it, our family’s paid taxes for over a hundred years on this place. We’ve got a deed to it, but yet they walked in and said it wasn’t ours.”
Historically the vegetation line on the south side of the Red River is the boundary between Oklahoma and Texas. Over time the river moves. BLM claims that when the river moved south, the property line moved with it. However, they don’t apply the same criteria when the river moves back north. The property line, according to BLM, only moves in one direction.
It seems the primary function of the BLM may have shifted to serving in more of a land acquisition role than a land management one. Even though these are fairly wealthy individuals, with large parcels, they are no match for the resources of the federal controlling authority. A large, central government was created to serve the desires of the few who control it.