calculable financial stake in H.B. 510, introduced by Rep. Wayne Gibbens of Breckenridge. This bill would let the railroad commission force owners of small tracts to consent to these tracts’ “pooling” with large adjacent tracts. Any oil extracted from the “pooled” tracts would then be pro-rated among the various owners. Small tract owners could not do as they now do drill on their own tracts for the oil they are permitted to produce under present regulations. Early in 1961,, “C.E.D.O.T.,” the committee for equitable development of Texas oil and gas resources, was formed. The 85 members of the executive committee represent 85 companies and individuals in oil production. Independents are in a majority; yet majors are amply represented, and many of the independents are associated with the majors financially, as through production farm-outs. The chairman is C. W. Alcorn, formerly president of the Texas midcontinent oil and gas association \(a pendent with associations into Tidewater Oil. One of the vice-chairmen, Jake Hamon, was formerly chairman of the American petroleum institute, and another, Fred Shield, was formerly president of the independent petroleum association of America, a group with such substantial supporters as Phillips and Continental. Generally, C.E.D.O.T. is made up of oilmen either working for the major oil companies or on amiable terms with them. C.E.D.O.T. maintains that “the small tract problem” occurs “when an oil or gas well is drilled on a tract substantially smaller than the standard drilling tract in a particular field. The most common inequity is that of drainage to the small-tract well from adjoining acreage. In most instances the small-tract well may be classified as unnecessary.” [C.E.D.O.T.’s italics] Obviously small tract owners do not agree, and H.B. 510 has caused the nearest approach to civil war in the House team. Rep. Allen, Longview, chairman of the state affairs committee, says the small landowners in east Texas are up in arms. Tunnell has come under pressure from such landowners in his home district. However, the bill has been reported out of the oil and gas committee favorably. 8 The Texas Observer During a hearing on the bill, Reps. Amando Canales, San Diego, and George Hinson, Mineola, gave Alcorn a going-over about C.E.D.O.T.’s finances. Hinson insisted the legislators be given a financial report showing “just where you are getting your voluntary contributions.” Alcorn did not produce such a report ; he said, “We have nothing to hide.” The fact has come to the Observer’s attention that C.E.D.O.T.’s statement of policy for H.B. 510 has been distributed by Mobil Oil Co., a division of Socony Mobil Oil Co., Inc., as a pamphlet under the title, “7 reasons why Texas needs a pooling law.” The pamphlet was enclosed with royalty payments from Mobil. Mobil advises its royalty recipients to write C.E.D.O.T. for further information. Lobbyist for C.E.D.O.T. is Weldon Hart, close associate of ex-Gov. Allan Shivers. The word now is that C.E.D.O.T. will press for a House vote on H.B. 510, but opponents suspect that this is a stratagem to pressure members to commit themselves pro or con, thus equipping C.E.D.O.T. with information the oil interests need in determining whom to support and oppose in the 1964 elections. There is no doubt, of course, that if C.E.D.O.T. gets the votes to pass the bill, it will press for the vote. BILL MURRAY, the resigned railroad commission chairman, in effect publicly opposed H.B. 510 early this year, stating in Miami, Fla., that the commission “will substantially eliminate small tract drilling in the future even without a compulsory pooling statute in Texas.” Approached by a group from C.E.D.O.T. who wanted him to keep quiet on the subject, Murray instead repeated his position in Abilene. Murray thus multiplied his enemies \(he had already made plenty of them during the slantforced pooling, as well as the rest of the spectrum of oil and gas regulation, comes within the purview of the railroad commission, Murray’s resignation after publicity about his oil ventures in the Dallas News removed him effectively as an opponent of H.B. 510. Whether this was causal, a consequence, or both, the Observer does not at this point venture to say. On the other hand, commissioner Ben Ramsey stated in Victoria late in April that total oil and gas conservation and the elimination of unnecessary wells would be good for the oil industry. This position is not likely to displease the interests advocating H.B. 510. The defense of Murray by Johnny Mitchell, president of the Texas independent producers and royalty owners’ assn., may be related to Murray’s position against H. B. 510. On April 24, Mitchell wrote a critic of his defense of Murray and released the letter to the press. In the April 24 letter he said: . . . I think there is a good reason to doubt the assumption that persons embittered over the slant-hole matter are actually as responsible for this attack [on Murray] as some undoubtedly would like to believe. I think that singling out Bill Murray for repudiation, if indeed it was a power play, is more likely to be traced to others who in recent months have increasingly disapproved of Murray’s independence of judgment and determination to go ahead with some badly-needed conservation changes regardless of whose important toes he had to step on. To evaluate this possibility, it’s necessary to look at the wide range of issues on which he was asserting leadership. . . . For your information, we’re attempting just such an analysis right now. T.I.P.R.O., however, is divided over H.B. 510. Former presidents of the independents have testified for it ; the current T.I.P.R.O. Reporter contains a pro-and-con debate on the subject. The “independents vs. majors” distinction is an artificial one in fact; if there is a division in the oil industry on such questions as H.B. 510, it separates, producers concerned about competition in the oil business from producers who favor industry solidarity and cooperation. For instance, many consider H. L. Hunt, twice a billionaire and one of the richest men in the world, an independent oilman, yet, on April 10, under the letterhead of H.L. Hunt’s Hunt Oil Co. of Dallas, W. H. Hunt wrote a Texas legislator, \(who shared H.B. 510 would be good legislation. W. H. Hunt’s letter concluded: “You must pass House Bill 510.” A state official, Land Cmsr. Jerry Sadler, in March accepted chairmanship of a committee against forced pooling. It was unusual from the first for a person elected by the state’s voters to accept such a position, but Sadler promptly made it even more unusual. Using state employees, his official letterhead and stationery, and the state land office stamp machine and postage, he mailed, to the land office’s official list of 26,600 veterans, a letter in which he opposed
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