The land in which Rollover Pass is situated is privately owned–and the owners do not want the pass closed.
Almost three years after the Texas Legislature gave the Texas General Land Office authority and appropriated almost $6 million to close Rollover Pass, the agency anticipates gaining the final government-issued permit needed before plugging the 1,600-foot cut hugely popular with anglers but blamed for considerable environmental and economic damage.
“We’ve been told we could expect it within a week or so,” Jerry Patterson, Texas Land Commissioner and catalyst of the pass closure push, said Thursday of the anticipated issuance of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers permit allowing filling of the channel.
But even with the permit in hand, funding in place and engineering blueprints drawn, the agency faces a considerable hurdle blocking its plans.
“GLO doesn’t own Rollover Pass. It’s private property, and the GLO and the state have no legal right to fill it in, even if they have the permits,” said Jim Blackburn, a Houston-based lawyer representing the Gulf Coast Rod, Reel and Gun Club, the Beaumont-based group that owns the 22-acre tract holding Rollover Pass.