By Greg Richter
AUSTIN, TX – Texas Gov. Rick Perry says his state’s Attorney General Greg Abbott wasn’t making a dare against the federal government over a land rights dispute; it was a promise.
“He is on the right side of this issue, not just for the people of the State of Texas, he’s on the right side of this issue from the private property rights standpoint,” Perry said Wednesday on Fox News Channel’s “Your World with Neil Cavuto.”
“I don’t think Americans want to see another one of these exhibitions from the federal government of them coming in with armed troops over an issue that ought to be taken care of with a little common sense,” Perry told guest host Stuart Varney.
“I am about ready to go to the Red River and raise a ‘Come and Take It’ flag to tell the feds to stay out of Texas,” Brietbart Texas reported Abbott as saying.
Abbott wrote a letter to Bureau of Land Management Director Neil Kornze about his concerns that the agency is trying to take 90,000 acres of land along the Red River from private citizens who have owned it for years.
“At a minimum they are overreaching, trying to grab land that belongs to Texans. Or worse, they are violating due process rights by just claiming that this land suddenly belongs to the federal government,” Abbott said Wednesday on Fox News Channel’s “On the Record with Greta Van Susteren.”
The action stems from a dispute between Texas and Oklahoma over the two states’ common border. According to the Louisiana Purchase in 1803, the Red River is the border between them, but as the river’s course changes so does the border.
Numerous lawsuits between the states and the federal government have arisen over the years, and the BLM wants to solve the issue by federalizing the land, Texas officials say.
“We don’t have a clue why they are trying to claim it, what basis they have to claim it on,” Abbott told Fox News.
But the BLM issued a statement saying it “is categorically not expanding federal holdings along the Red River,” Fox News reported.
Abbott said if that is true he’s happy, but he added that it contradicts other statement the BLM has made.
Ken Aderholt told Van Susteren that the agency is trying to take 500-600 acres of his 1,800-acre cattle ranch. He said the federal government owns the river and the sandy areas near its banks. But he said the local BLM office told him it wants part of his land that is far from the river’s banks.
Perry told Fox News he has no problem with Abbott’s words.
“Actually, it’s not a dare. It’s a promise that we’re going to stand up for private property rights in the State of Texas,” he said.
The federal government already owns too much land and needs to be talking about how they can divest themselves of huge landholdings “rather than coming in and taking over private property.”
The federal government owns large portions of many Western states. It owns more than 80 percent of the land in Nevada, where supporters of rancher Cliven Bundy recently forced a retreat by BLM agents attempting to seize Bundy’s cattle. He has refused to pay grazing fees for two decades.
Nevada Sen. Harry Reid has said the Bundy situation is not over, and called the rancher’s supporters “domestic terrorists.”
“I would suggest Sen. Reid spend a little more time in Nevada and get out of Washington, D.C., and to visit with those people that he is disparaging,” Perry told Fox News. Reid’s words, he added, are “not something you would want a leader in this country saying about the citizens of this country.”
Some of Bundy’s supporters had weapons, and Varney asked if Perry supports people taking up arms against the government.
“I have a problem with the federal government putting citizens in the position of having to feel like they have to use force to deal with their own government,” Perry responded.
“That’s the bigger issue.”
Abbott told Fox News that the border issue supposedly was settled in the mid-1990s. If the federal government tries to take private land from Texans, he said, the state will meet them in court.