Federal Overreach from Sea to Shining Sea

water

The recent uproar over armed Bureau of Land Management agents descending on small ranch operation in Southern Nevada is shedding light on the fact that 40 agencies, including some not typically associated with law enforcement, have armed divisions. Agencies like the Library of Congress and Federal Reserve Board now employ armed officers.

Flashback to 2008, when then-presidential-candidate Barack Obama announced his plan to build a massive “civilian national security force,” claiming it would be just as well-funded as our military forces. Today, there are over 120,000 armed federal agents who work for those 40 same agencies.

Following the Bundy Ranch stand-off in Nevada, Texans are becoming concerned about the Bureau of Land Management’s focus on 90,000 acres along a 116 mile stretch of the Texas/Oklahoma boundary. The BLM is reviewing the possible federal takeover of privately held lands which have been deeded property for generations of Texas landowners.

Sid Miller, former Texas State Representative and Republican candidate for Texas Agriculture Commissioner, is making the matter a campaign issue.

“In Texas, the BLM is attempting a repeat of an action taken over 30 years ago along the Red River when Tommy Henderson lost a federal lawsuit,” Miller says, “The Bureau of Land Management took 140 acres of his property and didn’t pay him one cent.”

Miller is talking about the 1986 case where the BLM attempted to seize some of Henderson’s land. Henderson sued the BLM and lost 140 acres that had been in his family for generations and is now looking at using the case to claim an additional 90,000 acres.

When the BLM made the claim on Henderson’s land, their position was that Texas never had the authority to deed the land to private parties and it would fall under federal control. Since 1803 when the Louisiana Purchase was completed, there has been a controversy over the boundary between Oklahoma and Texas.

The boundary is supposed to be the vegetation line on the south side of the Red River. But the river has moved over time. And the BLM is trying to exploit this natural fact to seize the land.

In 1922, the U.S. Supreme Court attempted to settle the boundary dispute in Oklahoma v. Texas and declared the boundary to be defined by wooden stakes set on the river bank. That boundary apparently lasted no longer than anyone could expect wooden stakes to last in the shifting sands of a meandering river.

In 2000, Texas and Oklahoma’s legislatures agreed to a “Red River Boundary Compact” which defined the border between the states as the southern vegetation line. However, Congress must ratify agreements of this kind between the states according to Article 1, Section 10 (Clause 3) of the U.S. Constitution.

The Texas Farm Bureau produced a video explaining the problems left open by the current border definition from Texas’ perspective. The TFB claims Oklahoma believes when the river shifts south, the state line moves south.

But when the river moves north, the line remains in place. Meanwhile, as the two states squabble over the definition, the BLM is positioning itself to move in and confiscated all the land in question.

This federal overreach is not isolated to the lower 48 states.

Take the tiny mining town of Chicken, Alaska, home to 17 residents, which was raided by armed officers from the Environmental Protection Agency and Alaska Environmental Crimes Task Force in late August 2013. The two agencies claim they were looking for possible violations of the Clean Water Act.

The task force’s methods are being questioned by Alaska Senators Lisa Murkowski

“Their explanation — that there are concerns within the area of rampant drug trafficking and human trafficking going on — sounds wholly concocted to me,” said Murkowski.

“This seems to have been a heavy-handed and heavy-armor approach,” she added. “Why was it so confrontational? The EPA really didn’t have any good answers for this.”

The EPA continues to refuse explain why it used armed officers as part of what it called a “multi-jurisdictional” investigation of possible Clean Water Act violations.  The task force was made up of members of the EPA, FBI, Coast Guard, Department of Defense, the Alaska Department of Public Safety and Department of Environmental Conservation.

Meanwhile the EPA is in the process of seizing control over all private land in the U.S., following the United Nations blueprint, Agenda 21. Last Tuesday, the agency unveiled proposed changes to the Clean Water Act that will extend their regulatory control to temporary wetlands and waterways.

The new definition consists of any water, including seasonal ponds, streams, runoff and collection areas and irrigation water. It will also include runoff from watering your lawn, or puddles on your own property.

They are expanding the same kind of California fish-based drought or Nevada tortoise land restrictions or Oregon spotted owl ‘protection’ to every square inch of this nation. The EPA’s proposal extends their authority to include “pollution regulations” to “intermittent and ephemeral streams and wetlands” — which are created temporarily during wet seasons or following rainfall.

Their position is in direct violation of the Supreme Court rulings in 2001 and 2006, restricting the EPA to flowing and sizeable, “relatively” permanent bodies of water such as “oceans, rivers, streams and lakes.”  The proposed rule change is now in a 90 day comment period during which they will assess just how much they can get away with, based upon public outcry and pushback.

If this goes through, they will control your right to the water and your actions about water upon your own land, leaving them open unlimited abuse.

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Federal Overreach from Sea to Shining Sea

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