Red River Private Property Protection Act Passes In The House - Newschannel 6 Now | Wichita Falls, TX

Red River Private Property Protection Act Passes In The House

     The Red River Private Property Protection Act passed in the House of Representatives Wednesday. It means Texoma landowners are one step closer to resolving the Bureau of Land Management land dispute.

“The step that the House took today is a huge step in getting the land dispute solved once and for all,” said 13th District Congressman Mac Thornberry, who authored the bill.

The passage of the resolution means setting aside existing federal land surveys. Instead, it would allow for a new survey to be conducted.

It would happen within a two year time frame and requires a licensed land surveyor approved by the Texas General Land Office along with the Commissioners of the Land Office in Oklahoma.

The survey would be conducted along the entire 116-mile line using the gradient boundary method. After the findings, land owners will also have the opportunity to appeal.

“The bill will establish the boundary once and for all,” said Thornberry. “Then require the federal land be sold to adjacent landowners.”

However, an amendment to that bill also passed Wednesday. It will require special consideration of the mineral rights for Native American tribes in Oklahoma. One concern cited in a press release from the white house.

“Now it goes to the senate of course Senator Cornyn has been a real leader on this issue from the very beginning,” said Thornberry. “I’m hopeful now the House has passed it now the Senate will follow suit.”

Senator Cornyn said Wednesday’s vote is a positive step toward ensuring that Texas landowner rights are protected.

“Texas families that have owned land along the Red River for generations deserve certainty that their property rights will be protected from overreach by the Obama Administration,” said Senator Cornyn.

 Despite the passage, President Obama said should this resolution land on his desk he plans to veto it, according to a press release.

“The Administration shares the goal of providing legal certainty to property owners along the Red River, but strongly opposes the approach of voiding or nullifying Federal surveys.”

Although the Administration is already releasing that statement, Congressman Thornberry remains optimistic.

“Beyond that, there is a variety of options on getting this to the President, perhaps included in other larger legislation,” said Thornberry. “Let’s just take this one step at a time.”

No word on when the Senate will vote on the bill.

Brittany Costello, Newschannel 6

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