Land Owners Are Afraid Discrepancy Could Cost Them Their Land

A discrepancy in an 1836 survey has hundreds of East Texans afraid they will lose their land. The dispute over 4,000 acres is in a community in Upshur County called East Mountain. It began when a developer, trying to buy a piece of land, discovered a discrepancy in the old survey which would make the 4,000 acres actually the property of the state.

Tuesday night the East Mountain land owners met with oil companies to determine what their options are.

The key points you need to know are that in December a hearing in Austin will determine if this land is in fact owned by the state of Texas. If it is, then land owners will be able to buy their land back. But landowners believe they'll then lose their mineral rights, while attorneys for the developers say they won't.

Earlene Wetherbee says her land has been in her family for nearly 100 years. She believes greed is at the root of this disagreement and says she and others here don't have the money to buy back their land from the state.

"It's not fair to landowners who have been living in parcels of land for over a 100 years to all of a sudden have it snatched out from under them. What I'm hoping is that the land commissioner in Austin in December will say, 'this is enough, let's stop it. These people have been through enough," says Earlene.

Now the developers who originally found the discrepancy are attempting to put in a subdivision and golf course in Upshur County. Today their attorney told me his clients have no choice but to have this survey issue cleared up with the state because he says if they don't they could open themselves up to litigation in the future.

Amy Tatum, reporting.