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house Bill H.R. 428

Should the BLM Survey the Red River to Settle Disputes Over Land Ownership?

Argument in favor

The BLM needs to survey this stretch of the Red River to avoid disputes over land ownership, since it claimed that some of the land may be public domain without ever surveying all of it. Landowners and taxpayers deserve certainty over this issue.

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02/13/2017
The issue involves land in the public domain, Federal land. It is therefore, incumbent on the Federal government to provide accurate boundaries of the publicly held land to the States. If this issue lands in Federal court, having verified boundaries will expedite the courts ruling.
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Loraki's Opinion
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02/15/2017
THE BLM HAS BEEN TAKING LAND THAT RIGHTFULLY BELONGS TO THE STATES OR PRIVATE CITIZENS! THEIR ABUSE OF POWER (by UNELECTED BUREAUCRATS, no less!) IS LEGENDARY! THIS HAS TO STOP! BETWEEN THEM, THE EPA, AND OTHER GOVERNMENT ENTITIES, THE RIGHT OF PRIVATE LAND OWNERSHIP IS MOSTLY AN ILLUSION - THINK "PROPERTY TAXES" (in effect, you're merely RENTING land that you think you own!) AND "EMINENT DOMAIN" AND OTHER RESTRICTIONS ON THE USE OF "YOUR" LAND! TOO DANGED MUCH GOVERNMENT INTERFERENCE IN OUR LIVES! I agree with Countable member Jeannette's opinion: "The dispute is over a 116 miles stretch. BLM has based it on a 1920 Supreme Court ruling which vaguely describes what part of the Red River belongs to the public. Mr Aderholt has held his deed for his land for 70 yrs. Many of these ppl have built their homes, have ranches and invested their livelihoods. All the while paying taxes and believing as deed holders to find it at risk. BLM always assumes that it's avulsive when it works to their advantage and it's erosion when it works to their advantage. It's another Bundy situation. The state of Texas are behind these ppl. Let me ask the question when you buy property do you consider the Federal Government in having a say or claim to that property? I have relatives living on The Red River on the Oklahoma side but if the river is to change course will they find themselves in question of their deeds?"
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Karen's Opinion
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02/13/2017
Rivers make land change. A new survey should probably be done given 1923 was the last court opinion.
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Argument opposed

The BLM has surveyed parts of the Red River area that would be surveyed under this legislation, and that’s enough to settle questions surrounding the land’s ownership. The states of Oklahoma and Texas should be excluded from this process.

John's Opinion
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02/14/2017
The purpose of this bill is misleading. It is an attempted land grab by local livestock concerns. One of the components of the bill is not just to determine the ownership of the land but to force the BLM to sell land determined to be federally owned at no less than fair market value with the neighboring land owners having the right of first refusal. In a way it is eminent domain in reverse and I am sure a few pols got some nice contributions to push this puppy. Always look deeper at a bill and you will generally find that there is money involved that motivated the process more than just protecting the public interest. That is our land and we need need to know what the real deal is.
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Alicia's Opinion
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02/14/2017
If any landowner needs to know his property boundaries, they are welcome to pay for the a survey of their property just the same as the rest of the population. This seems an extraordinary expense for the benefit of few.
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Lucie carter's Opinion
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02/14/2017
This looks like a way to legalize a private owner land grab. Look at who is sponsoring this bill. Follow the trail of political contributions, you'll have the full story.
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bill Progress


  • Not enacted
    The President has not signed this bill
  • The senate has not voted
      senate Committees
      Committee on Energy and Natural Resources
  • The house Passed February 14th, 2017
    Roll Call Vote 250 Yea / 171 Nay
      house Committees
      National Parks, Forests, and Public Lands
      Committee on Natural Resources
    IntroducedJanuary 10th, 2017

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What is House Bill H.R. 428?

This bill would direct the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) to commission a survey that identifies the boundary of the Red River’s South Bank with respect to land along a specified 118-mile stretch of the Red River in Oklahoma and Texas. The survey would use the “gradient boundary survey” method and be completed within two years of this bill’s enactment by licensed gradient boundary surveyors under the direction of Texas and Oklahoma land offices. At issue is whether private property owners face disputes from the federal government over the land’s ownership, because BLM believes some land (up to 30,000 acres) may be public domain but the agency has never surveyed most of the Red River.

The BLM would submit its survey to the Oklahoma and Texas land offices after it’s completed, and the offices would have 60 days to approve it. The same process would be used to survey individual parcels of land in the specified area. After a survey for an individual parcel has been approved, the office would give the BLM a notice of their approval and a copy of the survey along with any related field notes. Surveys of the South Bank boundary line and any survey of an individual parcel of land wouldn’t be submitted to the BLM for approval.

Impact

People who own land along contested parts of the Red River; Oklahoma and Texas; and the BLM.

Cost of House Bill H.R. 428

A CBO cost estimate.

More Information

In-Depth: Sponsoring Rep. Mac Thornberry (R-TX) introduced this bill to end questions about the federal government’s ownership of disputed land along the Red River:

“Private property owners should never have to worry about the federal government coming in and taking away their land, especially land that has never been properly surveyed. Our bills will help provide these property owners the certainty that they deserve to know where public lands end and private lands begin.”

This legislation has the support of 12 cosponsors in the House, all of whom are Republicans from Oklahoma and Texas.


Of Note: The U.S. Supreme Court weighed in on the boundary of the Red River in 1923, giving the northern half of the river bottom to Oklahoma and the southern half to the federal government, with Texas getting none. The BLM now considers over a mile of dry land in Texas as part of the riverbed.


Media:

Summary by Eric Revell

(Photo Credit: Henley Quadling / Creative Commons)

AKA

Red River Gradient Boundary Survey Act

Official Title

To survey the gradient boundary along the Red River in the States of Oklahoma and Texas, and for other purposes.

    The issue involves land in the public domain, Federal land. It is therefore, incumbent on the Federal government to provide accurate boundaries of the publicly held land to the States. If this issue lands in Federal court, having verified boundaries will expedite the courts ruling.
    Like (32)
    Follow
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    The purpose of this bill is misleading. It is an attempted land grab by local livestock concerns. One of the components of the bill is not just to determine the ownership of the land but to force the BLM to sell land determined to be federally owned at no less than fair market value with the neighboring land owners having the right of first refusal. In a way it is eminent domain in reverse and I am sure a few pols got some nice contributions to push this puppy. Always look deeper at a bill and you will generally find that there is money involved that motivated the process more than just protecting the public interest. That is our land and we need need to know what the real deal is.
    Like (308)
    Follow
    Share
    If any landowner needs to know his property boundaries, they are welcome to pay for the a survey of their property just the same as the rest of the population. This seems an extraordinary expense for the benefit of few.
    Like (110)
    Follow
    Share
    This looks like a way to legalize a private owner land grab. Look at who is sponsoring this bill. Follow the trail of political contributions, you'll have the full story.
    Like (86)
    Follow
    Share
    Why is this issue so important? This looks like re-survey that may precede a disposal of public lands. Do NOT sell off our public lands!
    Like (32)
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    Rivers make land change. A new survey should probably be done given 1923 was the last court opinion.
    Like (22)
    Follow
    Share
    THE BLM HAS BEEN TAKING LAND THAT RIGHTFULLY BELONGS TO THE STATES OR PRIVATE CITIZENS! THEIR ABUSE OF POWER (by UNELECTED BUREAUCRATS, no less!) IS LEGENDARY! THIS HAS TO STOP! BETWEEN THEM, THE EPA, AND OTHER GOVERNMENT ENTITIES, THE RIGHT OF PRIVATE LAND OWNERSHIP IS MOSTLY AN ILLUSION - THINK "PROPERTY TAXES" (in effect, you're merely RENTING land that you think you own!) AND "EMINENT DOMAIN" AND OTHER RESTRICTIONS ON THE USE OF "YOUR" LAND! TOO DANGED MUCH GOVERNMENT INTERFERENCE IN OUR LIVES! I agree with Countable member Jeannette's opinion: "The dispute is over a 116 miles stretch. BLM has based it on a 1920 Supreme Court ruling which vaguely describes what part of the Red River belongs to the public. Mr Aderholt has held his deed for his land for 70 yrs. Many of these ppl have built their homes, have ranches and invested their livelihoods. All the while paying taxes and believing as deed holders to find it at risk. BLM always assumes that it's avulsive when it works to their advantage and it's erosion when it works to their advantage. It's another Bundy situation. The state of Texas are behind these ppl. Let me ask the question when you buy property do you consider the Federal Government in having a say or claim to that property? I have relatives living on The Red River on the Oklahoma side but if the river is to change course will they find themselves in question of their deeds?"
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    This sounds like a land grab.
    Like (21)
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    A confusing bill but reads as a land grab, and has larger environmental concerns as whatever the land is used for ultimately affects waterways.
    Like (17)
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    The survey should be ordered
    Like (17)
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    We have taken too much from the indigenous people already.
    Like (15)
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    It doesn't seem like a case of "the federal government coming in and taking away their land" as much as a desire for more current boundaries. As it sounds like new boundaries would likely result in the loss of public lands for private gain, I feel the interested citizens ought to pay at least a portion of the survey fees.
    Like (14)
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    Thi is a LAND GRAB. They want to sell public lands.
    Like (12)
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    This is waste of tax payer money. I will never agree with anything of this context without knowing the end goal. The only reason I can see the government doing this, is to make some campaign contributor more more money.
    Like (11)
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    This does not seem to be something that is of immediate need, considering there is a standing survey. The federal monies that would be put in to funding this could be better used elsewhere.
    Like (9)
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    For what? What's gonna happen at the end of this? TRANSPARENCY. If we're paying for things with our taxes then we deserve more facts
    Like (7)
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    Make the corporation/person requesting the survey pay for it. I don't want my tax dollars paying to survey land so some corporation can buy our public lands for less than fair market value.
    Like (7)
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    Real goal at best unknown, I tend to agree with earlier comment by John that there's probably an underlying motive worthy of hiding from us
    Like (7)
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    Federal land requires federal funding for survey. Establishing the geographical extent of protected lands not only needs to be delineated, but should have been delineated when the land was distinguished for protection. This is long overdue and should have been initiated upon adoption of the area by the BLM.
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    Hello? Isn't important to know where property boundaries are?
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