Washington, D.C. – On Wednesday, Rep. Mike Johnson’s (LA-04) legislation to stop government encroachment and return land claimed by the federal government back to its rightful, private landowners in Louisiana passed the House Natural Resources Committee with unanimous consent. Senator Bill Cassidy (R-La.) introduced companion legislation in the Senate.
“The land surrounding Lake Bistineau belongs to the people who have spent generations building and cultivating it, not the federal government. Furthermore, arguing that the government should be compensated for returning the land back to the rightful owners is the equivalent of being robbed and then being required to pay the robber for what they took. This circular way of thinking is simply absurd,” said Johnson.
“Thankfully, my colleagues on the committee agree with me and have helped move my legislation to assert private ownership of the land and give Louisiana families assurance that their homes will not be subject to the whims of Washington bureaucrats. I am also thankful for Senator Cassidy’s efforts to move this bill in the Senate.”
Sen. Cassidy said, “Families near Lake Bistineau purchased their land and have lived there for generations. The federal government has to be good to its word and can’t, over a century later, strip these families of their land. I appreciate Congressman Mike Johnson’s work on this issue and applaud the committee for moving our legislation forward.”
Johnson’s legislation essentially voids a 1967 survey being used by the Federal Bureau of Land Management to claim the land surrounding Lake Bistineau in Bossier Parish. In effect, this bill will restore the original 1842 survey of the affected areas and nullify the legal effect of any future attempts to confiscate the land.
Currently, more than 200 acres of land in Bossier Parish along the west bank of Lake Bistineau are being claimed by the government agency. The land is home to numerous private land and home owners, and Johnson’s bill would provide legal certainty to these citizens who have demonstrated ownership.