AG Questions Federal Authority In Texas’ Own ‘Bundy Ranch’ Dispute

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Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott (R) added his name to the list of Republicans bumping up against the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) over land acquisition.

On Tuesday Abbott, the Republican candidate for governor against Democratic state Sen. Wendy Davis, sent a letter to the director of the Bureau of Land Management asking that his agency answer questions over the early stages of a plan to “regulate the use of federal lands along a 116-mile stretch of the Red River.”

“As Attorney General of Texas, I am deeply troubled by reports from BLM field hearings that the federal government may claim — for the first time — that 90,000 acres of territory along the Red River now belong to the federal government,” Abbott wrote.

Abbott’s letter just happens to coincide with an ongoing dispute between Nevada rancher Cliven Bundy and the BLM over Bundy’s refusal to pay grazing fees for his cattle. Bundy’s opposition to doing so has lead to a tense standoff between the BLM and the rancher and his supporters.

To be clear, Abbott is not directly weighing in on the Nevada dispute. Abbott, however, is publicly calling attention to concerns he has with things the BLM is doing as the federal agency is an ongoing national topic of discussion.

“Given the seriousness of this situation, I feel compelled to seek answers regarding the BLM’s intentions and legal authority with respect to Texas territory adjacent to the Red River,” Abbott continued in the letter.

Abbott went on to say in the letter that the BLM is threatening land that’s privately owned and maintained by Texans.

“Private landowners in Texas have owned, maintained, and cultivated this land for generations. Despite the long-settled expectations of these hard-working Texans along the Red River, the BLM appears to be threatening their private property rights by claiming ownership over this territory,” Abbott continued. “Yet, the BLM has failed to disclose either its full intentions or the legal justification for its proposed actions. Decisions of this magnitude must not be made inside a bureaucratic black box.”

Abbott concludes the letter asking a series of question such as the steps the BLM to take to acquire the land near the Red River as well as clearly say how much land the BLM would take.

Read the full letter here.

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