Official report to the House of Representatives of the 58th Legislature of Texas Page: 72 of 94
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A. Not to me, and I don't mean to imply he did it to anyone
else, but I think I was present for all of his conversation.
In regard to the marginal well statute, I have previously
testified concerning that. We are operating under an
attorney general's opinion that was issued in 1940, and
I would like if that has not been entered into the record,
ask that this 17 page opinion be put into the record. We
have concerned ourselves with certain seeming inequities
of the marginal well statute. We have more greatly concerned
ourselves with the near impossibility of effectively
policing it. We have not gone to the legislature and told
them that what they did we thought was wrong. It is commission
policy not to try to tell the legislature what to do,
but to try to do the best we could with the tools that they
gave us. Since this opinion has been in existence since
1940, when I came on the commission in '47, I presumed
that neither the industry nor the legislature in their wisdom
had concluded that it should be changed, and so I have never
done anything except try to figure out a way to make an unworkable
statute somehow palice able, so I cannot disagree
with the opinions that have been previously submitted of the
inequities that seemingly exist or the wisdom of rewriting
the statute so as to make it more enforceable.
. .. we are going to try to devise our order so that the
inclination surveys that the prudent operator, as his drilling
contractor may anyway, will be what will be turned over to
us, and then to protect from violations we will be spot
checking constantly after they have filed the sworn survey
with us, and it is in our hands. Then we will go spot check,
and if it is false we refuse ever again to accept a survey from
that drilling contractor. If it is a third party surveying
company, we refuse to ever accept either an inclination or
directional survey from that surveying company. While we
do not have authority to levy fines, we feel that the economic
disaster of having it publicly known that you, as a drilling
contractor or surveying company, are not acceptable to the
commission, as highly competitive as those businesses are,
we feel that that will be a very effective weapon against them.
(Note--New Rule 54 dated November 2, 1963 puts into effect all of the above proposals.)
Mr. Witts: Just one other question. A great many of these kicked wells
were drilled, based on a Rule 37 exception, and protests were
filed by offset operators on a great many of these kicked wells.
Nevertheless, the permits were granted, the wells were drilled,
and facts have shown they have been bottomed under the adjoining
owner who protested that. Do you have any explanation for that?
Here’s what’s next.
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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/m1/72/: accessed January 17, 2018), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; .