Dwight D. Eisenhower photo

Veto of Bill Relating to Oil and Gas Leases or Options in Alaska.

August 17, 1959

To the House of Representatives:

I return herewith, without my approval, H.R. 6940, "An Act to amend the Mineral Leasing Act of 1920 in order to increase certain acreage limitations with respect to the State of Alaska."

An unrestricted doubling of the present maximum allowable holding of oil and gas leases or options--which H.R. 6940, in the case of Alaska, would authorize--would not, in my judgment, be in the best interests of Alaska or the Federal Government.

Rather than providing an inducement to the development of oil and gas resources in Alaska, the bill would tend to produce an excessive concentration of control over such potential resources, and there is no assurance provided by the bill that the interests so held would at any time be developed.

Development contracts and unit agreements already provide relief from acreage limitations when circumstances justify their approval. Any additional concentration of ownership would among other things deter participation in these existing and successful programs which are designed to provide specific assurance of the expenditure of funds for exploration and development work. The need is for further progress under existing programs, not just speculative or control holding of excessive acreages, if the development of oil and gas resources on public lands is to occur and the interests of Alaska and the Nation are to be served.

I am aware that allowing increased acreage holdings might be of immediate financial importance to our 49th State, but I believe this to be a shortsighted goal for it eventually could well result in depriving both the Alaskan and Federal governments of substantial revenue. Sacrificing sound principle and the long-run public interest in order to achieve a limited immediate gain does not seem to me to be wise.

DWIGHT D. EISENHOWER

Note: This veto message was released at Gettysburg, Pa.

Dwight D. Eisenhower, Veto of Bill Relating to Oil and Gas Leases or Options in Alaska. Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project https://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/node/235222

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