Cmr. George P. Bush announces successful settlement of Red River BLM lawsuit
AUSTIN — In a major win for private property rights, Texas Land Commissioner George P. Bush is proud to announce a successful settlement in the lawsuit filed against the Federal Bureau of Land Management (BLM). The plaintiffs in the case include the Texas General Land Office (GLO), private property owners and county plaintiffs. The Texas General Land Office partnered with the Texas Public Policy Foundation who represented the private land owners.
“For more than 180 years Texans have stood up against anyone who would attempt to infringe on our property rights,” said Commissioner Bush. “In this case, Texas families owned and worked the land at the heart of this matter for generations, until the unfair attempt to seize it. The Land Office had held mineral rights to this land, on behalf of our children and future Texans, for nearly two centuries. Texans have always defended our land and our rights. At the end of the day, the saying remains true: Don’t mess with Texas.”
The judge’s ruling blessing the agreement concludes a dispute which began in 2009. In 2014, the case took on new urgency when the BLM announced it would implement new surveys allowing the federal government to claim ownership of a 116-mile stretch of the Red River running through Clay, Wichita and Wilbarger counties. This claim included mineral assets owned by the Texas Permanent School Fund (PSF), which is managed by the GLO for the benefit of the schoolchildren of Texas. In December 2015, Commissioner Bush filed a motion to intervene in the case on behalf of the PSF. In March, the United States District Court for Northern Texas granted the motion.
“I applaud President Donald Trump’s administration for withdrawing the previous administration’s false claim to private land,” said Commissioner Bush. “Today’s victory is one for both private property rights and for the schoolchildren of Texas. It’s also a heartening restoration of the rule of law.”
The agreement protects both private property rights and the mineral rights of the school children of Texas. Texas constitutionally dedicates PSF land and mineral interests to be managed by the GLO for the benefit the public-school children of the State of Texas. The GLO is constitutionally charged with the sacred and solemn responsibility of maximizing revenues from Texas public school lands. With this settlement, the BLM, under the Trump administration, has agreed the boundary once in dispute is governed by the opinion of the Supreme Court in Oklahoma v. Texas (1923), thereby removing any inappropriate interference of the GLO’s duty to the children of Texas.
For additional background on the Permanent School Fund and information on the GLO’s standing in the case, please visit http://www.glo.texas.gov/the-glo/news/press-releases/2016/march/us-district-court-approves-glo-commissioner-bushs-intervention-in-lawsuit-against-blm-land-grab.html.
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