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Gloves Come Off: Texas Attorney General Unloads On BLM In This Letter

April 24, 2014

As Western Journalism reported earlier this week, the Bureau of Land Management’s rampage across the American West is hardly limited to the standoff at the Bundy Ranch. In addition to its complicity in selling off wild horses to a Canadian slaughterhouse, the BLM is also reportedly interested in seizing about 90,000 acres across Texas’ northern border.

Greg Abbott, the state’s attorney general and likely its next governor, is not taking that potential land grab lightly. He sent a stern letter to BLM Director Neil Kornze, explaining his outrage further in an interview with Breitbart Texas.

“I am about read to go to the Red River and raise a ‘Come and Take It’ flag to tell the feds to stay out of Texas,” he asserted.

The property in question has been deeded to Texas ranchers for generations; and according to recent reports, the BLM is in the process of seizing it by force based on stipulations going back to the Louisiana Purchase more than two centuries ago. Abbott explained that the agency has been secretive regarding both the scope of the effort and the ostensible legal precedent behind it.

“This is the latest line of attack by the Obama Administration where it seems like they have a complete disregard for the rule of law in this country,” he told Breitbart, explaining “they’ve crossed the line quite literally by coming into the State of Texas and trying to claim Texas as federal land.

In his capacity as attorney general, he concluded, “I am not going to allow this.”

Abbott’s letter included a request for explanation of five specific issues.

1. Please delineate with specificity each of the steps for the RMP/EIS process for property along the Red River.

2. Please describe the procedural due process the BLM will afford to Texans whose property may be claimed by the federal government.

3. Please confirm whether the BLM agrees that, from 1923 until the ratification of the Red River Boundary Compact, the boundary between Texas and Oklahoma was the gradient line of the south bank of the Red River.  To the extent the BLM does not agree, please provide legal analysis supporting the BLM’s position.

4. Please confirm whether the BLM still considers Congress’ ratification of the Red River Boundary Compact as determinative of its interest in land along the Red River? To the extent the BLM does not agree, please provide legal analysis supporting the BLM’s new position.

5. Please delineate with specificity the amount of Texas territory that would be impacted by the BLM’s decision to claim this private land as the property of the federal government.

He called the letter a “first shot in the legal process,” explaining the response he receives from the BLM will determine his next step.

“One of the problems is, we can’t tell what they’re doing other than trying to operate in very suspicious ways,” Abbott concluded. “We want to make sure they are going to be open and transparent about what they are doing and that constitutional due process rights are going to be protected.”

Not only has this development prompted him to act against the BLM’s targeting of additional land in Texas; he explained he is now suspicious of land already owned by the agency.

“We’re looking at anything and everything BLM either has or is considering doing across the State of Texas,” he said. “Anytime we see land grabs like this by federal authorities, it raises red flags that cause us to look into the full extent of their operations.”

Read the full letter Abbott sent to Kornze below:

Abbott Letter to BLM

Photo Credit: Facebook/Greg Abbott

Abbott Letter to BLM


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