Official report to the House of Representatives of the 58th Legislature of Texas Page: 54 of 94
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September 27, 1962
The next hearing was held in Austin on September 27, 1962 in the Supreme
Court Room. Its purpose was threefold.
(1) To interrogate the major companies.
(2) To interrogate the East Texas Salt Water Disposal Company (ETSWDC).
(3) To obtain testimony from members of the RRC.
The hearing commenced with the ETSWDC. The Committee had received a
series of conflicting statements concerning the role of salt water injection. It had
been portrayed as some type of subterranean Robin Hood, sweeping millions of
barrels of oil from one side of the field to the other. Committee Counsel stated:
* . . the primary purpose of the East Texas Salt Water Disposal
Company was to dispose of salt water. It is not, and was not
organized as a water flood. The East Texas Field was discovered
in 1930. By the time of World War II, more salt water was being
produced from this field on a daily basis than oil. In excess of
400,000 barrels a day of salt water was being produced. Some
one hundred forty injunction suits had been filed by the attorney
general of the State of Texas against operators in the field to
stop pollution by them in the Sabine, Neches and the rivers. The
situation in which the East Texas Field found itself was that unless
the salt water could be disposed of in underground reservoirs, the
independent operators would have to quit producing because they
could not afford to construct facilities in order to dispose of their
At the outbreak of World War II the federal government had actually
prepared an order to take over the field. On February 20, 1942,
Harold Ickes stated: "I am greatly concerned for the future of the
East Texas Field. It is the number one source of oil in the United
States, containing 10% of the national reserve of crude petroleum.
So important is it, in fact, that it may well be considered as our
factor of safety in supplying the nations petroleum requirements
for the duration of the war.
Yet the future of this vital field is being seriously menaced by
the increased production of salt water, as a result of which the
reservoir pressure declined dangerously in January. This and
previous drops have brought the pressure down so low that it is
close to the point of being insufficient to maintain the natural flow
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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/m1/54/: accessed March 30, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; .