less pre-1920 mining claims apparently gained momentum under President Truman and Interior Secretary Oscar L. Chapman. It hit a peak under President Eisenhower and Secretaries Douglas McKay and Frederick A. Seaton. It was halted in 1960 because a few Interior employees sacrificed their chances for promotions and for jobs. From all present indications, patenting was resumed under President Johnson, Secretary Stewart Udall, and former Under Secretary John Carver. Carver worked hard to open the way. The department lost a trillion-dollar court case in Denver in 1966 to Tell Ertl \(a former Interior Department official now of Boulder, Colorado, who, if the court decision is allowed to stand, will have extensive holdings of oil shale pat whose components include such outfits as Standard Oil of California, Cleveland Cliffs battery of lawyers because Interior drove out its most knowledgeable and motivated lawyers and put on a half-hearted defense. Walt Pozen, Udall’s confidential assistant, has moved to a law firm tied into the Oil. Shale Corp. The corporation has a major interest in approval of pre-1920 claims. The Interior Department is making only a nominal effort in present contests being made in Denver courts by failing to raise some of the principal challenges of charges it could raise against the validity of the 50-year-old mining claims. While overt fraud has not turned up yet dramatically as in the Teapot Dome scandal, the political and economic implications are much larger in the oil shale situation. And why shouldn’t one expect fraud, considering that one 5,000-acre plot of rich oil shale land in Colorado contains more known recoverable oil than the entire state of Texas? Meanwhile, the public interest is gouged in unparalleled fashion. High officials who parade as conservationists have sold the public interest for a few paltry campaign contributions. Congressmen have breached the bounds of propriety in pushing the designs of selfish claimants on the public domain. WITH PRESENT trends, the public will not retain ownership or control of the vast oil shale riches for much longer. Public rights to these inconceivably large riches are threatened or are being plundered by: 1.Pending disposals of land for $2.50 an acre on the basis of pre-1920 mining claims covering as much as four million acres of oil shale lands. The land disposed of for $2.50 an acre is now selling for $2,000 an acre once it is in private hands. 2.25,000 new mining claims for clawsonite or sodium or possible metalliferous minerals which the Interior Department permitted to be filed in 1965 and 1966 on another four million acres of the richest oil shale lands containing some two trillion barrels of potentially recoverable shale oil. In this same area prospecting permits have been issued covering 20,000 acres of the best oil shale lands, for so dium, which Secretary Udall could have rejected; disposing of shale land for sodium is equivalent to disposing of a Texas oil field as grazing land. 3.Proposed research and development leasing programs which could turn control over more than 100 billion barrels of oil in 30,000 acres to as few as six oil companies. This would be enough for 30 years’ US consumption of petroleum at current rates. 4.Proposed “swaps” of federal lands for private lands without sufficient safeguards. The latest move by the industry-oriented Interior Department to divert the public domain oil shale lands into private Noted in Passing Stewart Udall, Secretary of the Interior, has turned down alluring feelers from oil companies and the shale oil industry. Drew Pearson in the Nov. 5, 1967 El Paso Herald-Post control has been through a departmentproposed leasing regulation which would not only pre-empt public oil shale lands for the major oil companies for little or nothing in return, but also “swap” certain allegedly privately-owned lands for federal lands. This move has been initiated with the blessings of Secretary Udall, regardless of the fact that his department and the Justice Department have not made known any remedies available to recover the lands wrongfully disposed of already, or their values, and despite the fact that these rich oil shale lands were patented in many cases contrary to law, and in breach of the public trust. In this region of the country it is a well-known fact that thousands, of acres of oil shale lands were given away by irresponsible administrators in the Interior Department who did not bother to properly examine pre-1920 mining claims upon which applications were processed to patent. Many of these claims had been declared null and void. Many were phony in all respects. Many were never valid for any purpose. And thus disposals under guise of pre-1920 mining claims were and are voidif only the Interior and Justice Department officials would have the courage to initiate suits to remove the cloud on the government’s titles which have resulted from illegal patents being issued. With little or no publicity about the situation, it is natural to assume that the proposed oil shale leasing regulations are designed to foster and to perpetrate a fraud on the public even though the public is given an opportunity to submit comments to the Interior Department before regulations are adopted. This fraud could be pulled off because the public is not aware of what it owns. Certainly the department, including the entire executive branch, has not tried to educate the public as to the complete oil shale facts and issues because the officials, present as well as former, have been involved in a major national scandal whose economic implications dwarf the Teapot Dome affair a hundred times over. Department spokesmen admitted in the Senate oil shale hearings held on May 12, 1965, that some public lands in Colorado had shale 1,900 feet thick and that a 5,120acre block would probably contain approximately 18 billion barrels of recoverable shale oilequal to nearly 60% of all proven petroleum reserves in the United States. This is a staggering amount of oil to turn over to one company under an untried and unknown research and development lease. Yet the department is on the verge of authorizing just such an arrangement. The 30,000 acres proposed for lease could include more than 106 billioh barrels of oilmore than three times all proven petroleum reserves in the United States. At current consumption rates this country would take 30 years to consume that much oil. Yet only six companies or entities could secure control of this amount of oil under the secretary’s proposed policies. The concentration of such wealth in the hands of so few would be unparalleled in our nation’s history. One aspect of the proposed oil shale leasing scandal becomes quite clear when one considers the fact that the department has represented to the public that the proposed oil shale leasing regulations would be applicable to a very small area of the oil shale lands owned by the government. But the department failed to disclose that the total barrels of recoverable shale oil reserves that may be contained in the 30;000 acres it proposes to lease may exceed 106 billion barrels. This kind of “slanted” representation on the part of Secretary Udall to the public borders on deception. ALL OF WHICH brings up some mighty big questions regarding this new gimmick to relinquish 30,000 more acres of the public’s land to the major oil companies: Why lease such large blocks? Why not limit this research and development is still a lot of oil? Why not limit any lease so that no private group or corporate body can get more oil shale under its control than one percent of the proven oil reserves of the US? Why not limit R&D leases by barrels rather than by the deceptive measure of acres? Why not confine the leaseable reserves to, say,. 5% of all proven petroleum reserves? Why not make the consortiums reveal all the shale oil and other oil reserves they, their subsidiaries, and their parent companies own, control, or lease so that steps can be taken to prevent issuance of leases to those entities whose monopoly positions would be strengthened by oil shale leases if issued? Why not Jan. 12, 1968 Page 3
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