Local Ranchers React to BLM Congressional Hearing

A Texoma landowner joined 13th District Congressman Mac Thornberry on Capitol Hill on Tuesday morning in hopes of resolving the Red River land dispute.

As the bill goes through the first leg on its journey through Congress, local landowners along the Red River are continuing to voice their opinion.

Local ranchers say they followed the Bureau of Land Management congressional hearing closely.

Ranchers like Terry McAlister say they appreciate what Thornberry is doing for them by fighting for their property rights.

McAlister says BLM officials say they want to have a final decision by 2018 but local ranchers hope it does not take that long.

Other land owners like Jimmy Smith say they fear the BLM will take their land even though they have a lot of support from lawmakers.

Smith and McAlister say their goal is to have complete ownership of their land.

McAlister says, "Mac's legislation basically sets out that I think the BLM would offer quick claim deeds to those property owners basically saying we have no claim to your property and I think every land owner along the river would feel real good about that."

Smith says, "It would be good for everybody to be able to have a clear title because their titles are clouded as of now because of all of this."

Both ranchers say they plan to continue raising awareness as to what is happening along the Red River.

Smith says they hope the community gets involved because they say it also affects them.

Smith says if their land is taken, it could affect property tax rates in Wichita County. 

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