Official report to the House of Representatives of the 58th Legislature of Texas Page: 3 of 94
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wells for survey on the date when commission ;ersonnel and equipment would be
available to make the survey. However, the district court of Gregg County, Judge
Hall presiding, issued an order in behalf of J. W. Baton and Reid Allgood restraining
Supervisor Payne from carrying out the inclination tests specified in the letter
to the 60 operators. The commission appealed from the district court order and
issued notice of a commission hearing wherein East Texas operators would be required
to show cause, if any existed, why their wells should not be subjected to
inclination survey. On May 14, Attorneys Angus Wynne of Dallas, Gordon Wellborn
of Houston, Fred Erisman of Longview, Fred Weeks of Tyler, and Foster Bean of
Kilgore met with Commissioners Murray and Ramsey, complained of discrimination
in the selection of operators to be surveyed, and stated that they would not voluntaril'
submit their leases to examination. But on May 15 the commission hearing was held
and although 200 persons were present, Attorney Angus Wynne was the only one to
enter an appearance and to make a statement, which statement is quoted as follows.
We want to congratulate the commission on the action it has
taken. We feel it is a fine thing that has been undertaken and
we pledge our cooperation to try to assist that any illegal well
in East Texas should be plugged. We assume, of course, in
making that statement, that the commission will proceed with
this campaign from top to bottom of the field, east and west,
because we feel and we are sure the commission feels that
there are illegal wells on the west side as well as on the east
We believe it is the finest thing the commission has ever
done and want to do everything we can to assist in the program.
On May 16 the commission issued an order reaffirming the previous letter
of Supervisor Payne and requiring all recipients of said letter to submit written
evidence of their intention to comply. Failure to submit such written evidence or
failure later to actually comply with Payne's instructions would result in severence
of the pipeline connection. All operators did submit written agreement to comply
prior to the deadline of May 21 and no pipeline severences were therefore issued.
Various operators filed plugging applications and were told that they were prohibited
from plugging any wells on the 162 leases scheduled for inclination survey and that
all other wells to be plugged woild have to be in strict compliance with the commission's
long-standing plugging order which requires five-day notice to all offset
operators. When notice of intention to plug was received by offset operators,
several such offset operators filed protests contending that if the wells were permitted
to be plugged, such might allow operators of deviated wells to go unpunished
and destroy evidence for civil and criminal cases.
On May 30, one of the suspect operators cemented several of his wells during
the night in violation of commission regulations. Commission personnel arrived
at the lease during the plugging operation but were without authority to use physical
force to stop the plugging operation or to arrest those involved. Immediately afterwards,
fifty DPS members, at the request of the attorney general, were assigned to
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Texas Legislature. House of Representatives. General Investigating Committee. Official report to the House of Representatives of the 58th Legislature of Texas, book, 1963; Austin, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth5869/m1/3/: accessed March 29, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; .