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Lawmakers and Land Owners Rally Against Land Grab By Federal Government
The fight for property rights is heating up as land owners along the Red River speak out against the Bureau of Land Management and a potential land grab of nearly 90,000 thousand acres.
The land at stake sits on 116 miles of the river, and the efforts of those opposed to the federal government's intentions are garnering some major support.
On Monday afternoon, State Highway 79 in between Byers and Waurika was the site of a rally by land owners and local and statewide politicians who were expressing their outrage at the possible land grab by the BLM.
Tommy Henderson knows this first hand.
"You don't want to lose your private land, especially land you've worked and paid for or maybe it's been in your family for generations and generations," Henderson says. "You don't want to lose that just like no one wants to lose their home."
He says almost 30 years ago, the BLM took 140 acres of land his family had owned for generations.
"No one denies that the United States owns some land here," Henderson says. "We just don't believe it's near as broad and expansive as what they claim it is. We do think they own a thick sliver of sand out there."
However, Henderson is not the only one taking a stance against the BLM.
Local and statewide lawmakers including Lieutenant Governor David Dewhurst were on hand to voice their frustrations.
Dewhurst says he is glad so many land owners along the Red River are concerned about the possible land grab.
He says, "Texans love their land and if someone is going to try and come in without a right and take their land away, we're going to fight them."
Dewhurst says this battle is going to be decided in the courts.
"We'll file suit against BLM," Dewhurst says. "We'll file suit against the federal government and we'll move aggressively to protect private property rights of our fellow Texans."
Henderson says the only way they'll win the fight is if they all stay united.
Henderson says, "We're all very busy and people didn't really have time to pay attention to one or two people but now that it's ready to affect hundreds of people, now we have hundreds of voices and so it's really going to bring it to the forefront I believe now."
There were two BLM representatives at Monday's event but they refused to speak to the media.
They did agree to address the concerns of land owners but on a one-on-one basis.