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January 01, 2006
Fencing along railroad right-of-ways
Attachments:
OCC application for a lawful fence.pdf

The Foundation has received inquiries from members about what to do if they are having trouble getting the railroad to replace a fence. Under Oklahoma law, railroads are required to keep a “good and lawful fence.” The Oklahoma Corporation Commission (OCC) is actually the agency overseeing the railroads on this issue. There are a couple of steps to follow.

First you need to contact the railroad in writing about the fence in question, because Oklahoma statute requires a written notification to the railroad before you can take the next step.

Following is suggested information to include in your letter to the railroad.
- the name of the landowner(s);
- the mailing address of the landowner;
- where the property is located (section, township, range, county);
- the length of the fence that needs to be replaced, and from where to where (railroad mile pole locations if you have them); and
- explain that your livestock are in jeopardy due to the bad fence.

If you have not heard from the railroad forty-five days after you sent the written notice, you may make an application for a lawful fence to the Oklahoma OCC. The OCC application for a lawful fence is attached, FYI. The application is available on the OCC’s website under the Railroad section. A copy of your written notification to the Railroad must be attached to the OCC application for a lawful fence.

After the OCC has received your application for a lawful fence, they will follow-up by inspecting the property in question. After that, the enforcement responsibility to replace the fence lies with the OCC. The OCC then follows a series of steps to get the railroad to comply.

We have heard from members who said the railroad tried to get them to accept fencing materials only. It is the railroad’s responsibility to replace the fence, not just to provide materials to the landowner to replace the fence.




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