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June 26 last. I advised the Senator over the phone that I thought it was unnecessary for me to make any statement, in view of the fact that Mr. Swann had appeared here yesterday and covered the field in a much better way than I could, because of his familiarity with what is going on out in Illinois. However, on second thought, I believed that perhaps it was necessary that I come here and say, at least, that I am urging the adoption of the amendment that I offered in the Senate last week.
I should like to say for the record that I know something of the history of oil in my State. These oil fields were developed during the term of Governor Horner as Governor of our State, and I was in fairly close contact with that administration and with various groups which were attempting to develop the oil fields in Illinois.
When order M-68 was issued by the Petroleum Coordinator's office limiting well spacing in the oil fields in this country to 40 acres of surface area, I presumed at the time that the order was all right. I had no way of knowing until a group of independent oil operators
State came to my office. I had never before met those gentlemen until they came in. Candidly, I was skeptical about the proposition submitted to me in the beginning, but the more I listened to Mr. Jarvis and Mr. Swann, the more I was convinced that they had a meritorious case. I immediately went into the matter with a view of seeing what could be done to relieve the situation in that State.
I do not care to repeat or reiterate anything that Mr. Swann said yesterday. Those who heard him, I am satisfied, realize that he understands the independent oil operators' situation out in my section of the country.
I have listened on and off to the statements made before this committee during the last few days. What one constantly hears from the witnesses is about the delay in being able to send oil to the eastern seaboard, which is so desperately in need of gasoline and fuel oil in order to make the wheels of America, so to speak—at least, in that section of the country-go around.
There is no question about the reserve of oil in the State of Illinois. There is no question about the development of the tremendous oil fields out there. There is no question about the distance between Illinois and the eastern seaboard. Everybody understands those things. I am not attempting to minimize the importance of the other phases of this legislation, but I do seriously want to call the attention of the committee to the desperate need of the eastern seaboard for immediate action. I do not know how long it can wait. Nobody knows how long it can wait before something serious may happen in the way of an epidemic, or something else, in this section before the winter months are over.
If the Illinois fields are put to work there is no question that they can produce the oil that will take care of this situation without very many pipe lines, because the big pipe line that is now proposed by the Coordinator's office from the Texas oil fields up to Salem, Ill., cannot be built overnight. A survey is now being made, and I am advised that the surveyors have not yet reached the State of Illinois.
This is just a common-sense, practical proposition. I am not an oil expert and do not pretend to be. I do believe that the independent oil operators, the independent geologists, and the independent lawyers in the State of Illinois who are dealing with the oil situation are
competent to speak. I have a hunch that they know just as much about this oil situation out there as these big fellows who have got this thing completely under their control.
It is common knowledge that the independent oil men in my State have developed 81 percent of the fields. They have the material on hand with which to go to work. It is there in the fields now, rusting away. These men will not operate because they will not take a chance under order M-68. They just cannot do it. They will go bankrupt while attempting to operate under order M-68; consequently, they would rather leave their tools and machinery along the roadside and let them rust.
I do not want Illinois to obtain any advantage that any other State cannot obtain in connection with the oil situation; I am for equity along that line. But when we are in an emergency, as we are at the present time, as far as the eastern seaboard is concerned, it does seem to me that those who are in charge of this should consider the matter carefully.
I want it distinctly understood that I profess a great deal of ignorance on the oil question; but, as a fellow in my section of the country used to say, I think I can see through a ladder. It is a practical, common-sense proposition to get oil to the eastern seaboard as quickly as we can get it here and we are going to get it. Otherwise, what is going to be done with the oil and gas coming from the Texas fields after it is dumped right into another oil field in Illinois? That is the plan, as I understand it. It may be feasible, and there may be statements made here that will override anything I can say and will say but that oil is coming from Texas through a 24-inch pipe line, as Í understand it, to another oil field in Illinois, at Salem, which is the heart of the oil industry in our State, and it is one of the largest in the entire country.
Something will have to be done with it after it gets there. What is going to be done with it? It is going to be spread out to other lines that will take it from Salem to Mount Vernon, Ind., and to other centers or sites along the Illinois or Ohio Rivers for the purpose of barging it, as I understand it, up the Ohio to Pittsburgh and then transporting it on through to the East. That is one way.
In addition, the haul by tank car will be shorter from that section to the eastern seaboard than it will be from Texas.
Madam Chairman, it seems to me that we are faced with two propositions. One is that we are desperately in need of gas and oil in these States along the seaboard. In an emergency we do the best we can in the quickest possible time. If one has an arm severed in an automobile accident, he does not go to Mayo's to have himself doctored. In an emergency, one does not go to a Chicago physician if he is away out in Kansas. He goes to the physician whom he can find the quickest, in order to cure him or to relieve him of pain or to save his life.
The same situation, it seems to me, Madam Chairman, exists here, from the statements I have heard and from what I know about this situation. In other words, the place from which we can get oil and gas the quickest is the Illinois fields. It just seems to me that in equity, good conscience, the interest of real freedom, the interets of transportation, and the interest of health, at least in this section of the country, the oil fields of Illinois should be turned loose for the moment until the pipe lines can be built and until oil can be moved from the Texas and other fields to the eastern coast.
The fellows in Illinois are ready to go, and within a week's time, if you give them authority under order from the Coordinator's department, or if you give them legislation, they will be filling the tanks pretty fast out there.
Statements here have shown that production in Illinois decreased 113,000 barrels a day since this order went into effect. It is going to decrease more as time goes on unless this order is liberalized.
It seems to me, therefore, that something ought to be done in the way of liberalization of that order, to the end that those oil fields in Illinois may produce more in this emergency. Possibly the order M–68 in theory may have been all right in the beginning, but it was issued before this emergency came along and was issued before the gas rationing took place along the eastern seaboard. Now we must meet this emergency with common sense and with expedition. These things are delayed many, many times down here, in my humble opinion, as we have discussed that frequently on the floor of the Senate. I do not want to be in the role of criticizing. I hope that if I have any criticism upon these matters it is constructive and not destructive.
As I said in the beginning, I went into this thing with some skepticism, because I know what the oil troubles have been in the State of Illinois; but candidly, after going into this thing from top to bottom and spending a few hours with those boys in my office, I reached a very definite conclusion, just as a juror would who has sat and listenedi to evidence, and my conclusion was that those fellows had a meritorious
It is my request and hope that the Secretary of the Interior will take into consideration the pleas that are being made by these independent fellows. I know that they have had a lot of trouble in the oil fields, and I know that the Secretary of the Interior has been trying to do many things. I think that he was right in connection with certain phases of legislation, but you cannot solve that right now. That thing must be laid aside for the moment. We must do with the tools that we have the best we can in the most expeditious way, in order to relieve a serious situation here. It seems to me that the Illinois oil fields offer the key to the solution. I just feel that way about it. I am not speaking now from the standpoint of trying to help the Illinois oil producer; I am speaking primarily from the standpoint of the war effort and secondarily from the standpoint of providing gasoline and fuel oil for the people who live in sections where it is needed. That is what I am interested in.
As I said, I had never seen these fellows before they came into my office, but I really and sincerely believe they have a meritorious
I hope that the committee will report that amendment along with the bill that has been written here. If that is not done, I propose ultimately to introduce this amendment separately, to see if I cannot have the legislation passed as an independent measure, in case anything should happen to this bill as a whole.
I do hope, as I said before, that something can be worked out here in the way of regulation without this legislation, because I am satisfied that this legislation as proposed in this amendment has such merit that it can be passed by the House and the Senate.
I thank you.
Senator PEPPER. Senator Lucas, do I understand that your approach is that we have a crucial problem facing us and that you want to meet it by all means possible?
Senator Lucas. Positively; and I do not care whether the relief comes from Florida or comes from Illinois. I want it to come from wherever it can be found. It seems to me, in connection with this one problem at the moment, that the proper approach is to the Illinois oil fields where, as I said before, during the time this M-68 order has been in effect the oil wells have decreased in their production by 113,000 barrels a day. That is a great quantity of oil. If you will turn the fields loose there, you are not going to destroy the oil that is in the Illinois reserves. In other words, the reserves today are less, as I understand it—and if I am wrong about this, I will stand corrected—as a result of order M-68 than they were before. I think I am right about that, though.
Is not that right, Mr. Swann?
Mr. SWANN. That is correct. Also, Senator, will you confirm to the committee the fact that you have approved the substitute that I suggested yesterday for the schedule of depths ?
Senator Lucas. That is right. I favor the substitute. That is a matter on which I cannot give any concrete technical knowledge, because I am not familiar with it; that is an oil man's proposition. If you say that it is all right, insofar as the amendment to my amendment is concerned, it is perfectly agreeable to me. I am only attempting to discuss the big aspect of the problem and the practical end of it as I'view it. From the standpoint of the grading of depths, that is perfectly agreeable to me, if it is agreeable to you.
Senator VANDEN BERG. Does not that raise a fundamental question, however? You are not in a position to say that the technical provisions of the amendment are or are not correct; neither is the committee; neither is the Congress. Have we not got to delegate the over-all control, in respect to providing oil to the eastern coast, to the administrative authority of the Government?
Senator Lucas. There is no question about that, Senator. Senator VANDENBERG. Have we not got to leave it there, and if the administrative agencies of the Government are not performing satisfactorily, is not our recourse to changing administrators rather than trying to write piecemeal various laws in Congress about things we are not competent to deal with, just as, as you have just stated, you are not competent to deal with the technicalities of the very amendment you are asking us to accept?
Senator LUCAS. No; I am not competent to deal with the technical end of the amendment.
Senator VANDENBERG. Neither is the committee, and neither is Congress. I might say that in Michigan we have the same problem that you have in Illinois.
Senator CARAWAY. We have that problem in Arkansas, too.
Senator Lucas. But the Senator from Michigan and the Senator from Illinois understand that there is an emergency on this coast, from the standpoint of the lack of gasoline and the lack of fuel oil. If I were the Administrator I would look to the nearest spot available to produce the necessary oil to relieve that situation in the quickest possible time. I do not care anything about whether they go 500 feet or 3,000 feet. I do not know anything about that; I do not un
derstand that phase of it. That is a technical question. The only thing I want to do is to produce oil for this emergency. That is not a technical question; that is a practical question, and a very serious question. As I say, the Coordinator's office may have arguments and reasons that are far superior to what I am trying to do in my poor limited way. But I think I can see this problem, and I think that the Senator from Michigan will agree with me that we are in one of the worst emergencies, from the standpoint of fuel oil and gasoline, that we have ever been in.
Senator VANDENBERG. There is no question about that.
Senator LUCAS. We have got to do something about it. Everybody is crying for help. Senator
Maloney wants money to investigate this matter. He thinks he has got something that may develop, and they are keeping after me on that, and I think that I shall have to go ahead and give them some money pretty soon to make the investigation to ascertain why more gasoline and more fuel oil are not coming into this section of the country. That is an administrative problem, but some Senators feel that an investigation ought to be made to ascertain why more fuel oil and gasoline are not coming in. They are worried about it. Senator Mead, Senator Maloney, and all the Senators in the northeastern section of the country are worried about this coming winter.
Senator VANDENBERG. They ought to be worried. There is no doubt about that.
Senator Lucas. I am not a technical man, and I do not know whether a well should go 500 feet or 5,000 feet,
Senator VANDENBERG. I am just in the unique position, for the moment, of defending the administration. [Laughter.]
Senator Lucas. That is a very unique position for the Senator from Michigan to be in, I must confess; but I congratulate you, even though you are wrong.
Senator VANDENBERG. You mean, even though the administration is wrong.
Senator PEPPER. It is just such instances as that that give me a confirmed sense of optimism.
Senator VANDENBERG. It also confirms my sense of humor.
Senator CARAWAY. We will consider your remarks in the committee.
Senator Lucas. I hope you will talk to Senator Vandenberg, too, in executive session.
Senator CARAWAY. We will now hear from Mr. Sam H. Jarvis, of Decatur, Ill.
Mr. SWANN. Mr. Jarvis understands that there are representatives of the Coordinator's office here, and we will be glad to yield to them. If they have anyone here to present any matters, we will be glad to defer Mr. Jarvis' presentation until they have finished.
Senator CARAWAY. I think they wanted to appear after you had all your proof in, did they not?
Mr. LEVY. I think that would be better. Of course, that is up to the committee. We have Mr. Knowlton here, who is the Director of Production, and also Mr. DeGolyer, Director of Conservation of the