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Statement on Oil Conservation Policies.

March 15, 1929

IN REPLY to a number of press questions as to oil conservation policies, the President stated today:

"Not only do we propose to stop the issue of development permits over public domain and other lands in control of the Government, which permits constitute the first step in the leasing of oil resources, but Secretary Wilbur proposes to review all outstanding permits to determine their status. Where holders are complying with the law, they need have no anxiety as to retrospective action, but some 34,000 permits for oil exploration by drilling have been issued since the leasing law was passed in President Wilson's administration. Of these some 20,000 are outstanding at the present time. Under these permits drilling must proceed in definite stages under time limits. It is obvious that no large proportion of 20,000 oil wells are being drilled on lands under these permits. Thus, many persons have not complied with the requirements of the law and in effect have abandoned their rights.

"I have approved the recommendation of Secretary Wilbur to appoint [p.30] a departmental board representing the different bureaus interested, which will review the whole situation. Being fairly familiar with the sentiment of our Western States, I can at once refute the statement that the people of the West object to conservation of oil resources. They know that there is a limit to oil supplies and that the time will come when they and the Nation will need this oil much more than it is needed now. There are no half measures in conservation of oil. The Government must cease to alienate its oil lands if we are to have conservation."

Note: For the President's remarks of March 12 with regard to government oil land policies, see Item 6.

Herbert Hoover, Statement on Oil Conservation Policies. Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project https://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/node/209817

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