The BLM removed armed federal agents from Bunkeville and near the Bundy ranch, but another possible “land grab” or range war appears to be brewing in Texas. Fellow rancher Tommy Henderson has been fighting the BLM for 30 years, and appears to be losing yet another round in the battle.
Tommy Henderson is locked in a property rights fight with the BLM. Although many students are taught in geography class that the border between Texas and Oklahoma is the Red River, the issue is far more complicated than that, according to the Bureau of Land Management. The BLM used an ongoing debate over the border to nab 140 acres of land Henderson’s failed lawsuit against the agency three decades ago.
BLM is now using the Tommy Henderson lawsuit ruling as a precedent to seize even more of his land along a 116-mile stretch of the river which the agency claims never belonged to Texas in the first place. Henderson holds a deed to the 90,000 acres, but such a legal document did not prevent him from losing the 140-acre parcel he had labored over and paid property taxes on for years.
Henderson had this to say about the emerging Red River range war in Texas:
“They’re wanting to take the boundaries that the courts placed here and extend those east and west to the forks of the river north of Vernon and east to the 98th Meridian which is about 20 miles east of us.”
If the BLM is successful in its bid to seize the 90,000 owned by the Texas rancher, it would substantially alter the boundaries between the two states. The fight boils down to the difference between avulsion and accretion. The river has moved over time and the boundary is supposed to be noted as the vegetation line along the south side of the waterway. Both states use different semantics to define the boundary, according to the Americas Freedom Fighters website. The BLM has allegedly been able to capitalize on the confusion in the bid to seize Henderson’s land. Oklahoma state statute defines avulsion in a different manner than both the United States government and Texas.