Cornyn Lauds House Passage of Bill to Help Resolve Red River Land Dispute

Published 8:49 am Wednesday, February 15, 2017

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator John Cornyn (R-TX) issued the following statement after the U.S. House of Representatives passed the Red River Gradient Boundary Survey Act to protect private property rights along the Red River from federal ownership claims. This legislation seeks to end questions about the federal government’s ownership of disputed land along the Red River.  Sen. Cornyn has introduced companion legislation in the Senate.


“Today’s vote is a big step forward for Texas families that have owned land along the Red River for generations. I want to thank Congressman Thornberry for ushering this bill through the House and bringing us closer to protecting Texans from baseless claims the federal government has made to their property.”


The legislation will help property owners along the Red River by:


  • Commissioning a survey of the majority of the 116-mile stretch of contested area along the Red River using the gradient boundary survey method developed and backed by the Supreme Court to find the proper ownership boundary between public and private land.
  • Ordering that the survey be conducted by licensed and qualified surveyors chosen by Texas and Oklahoma.
  • Providing states the authority to oversee the surveyors and approve the final survey to ensure the Supreme Court instructions are properly followed.
  • Requiring that a notice of survey approval, a copy of the survey, and any related field notes be provided to each individual land owner after the survey is completed.
  • Ensuring that nothing in the bill alters the Red River Boundary Compact, modifies the interests of the states, or harms the rights of the impacted federally recognized Indian Tribes.


Senator John Cornyn, a Republican from Texas, is a member of the Senate Finance, Intelligence, and Judiciary Committees.