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claim of ownership, not of jurisdiction but of ownership. All of the property within every State is not only subject to the jurisdiction of that State but it is subject to the jurisdiction of the United States. But most of it belongs to private individuals.
If I own a farm, the ownership is mine. But the sovereignty and jurisdiction over it are both the sovereignty and jurisdiction of the State and the sovereignty and jurisdiction of the United States within their respective spheres.
We should bear those things in mind when we are considering this proposition.
Mr. WALTER. May I ask a question right at this point? You distinguish between the ownership of land along the coast from that of the riparian owner on a navigable stream!
Mr. LORET. I consider that the same title that the State has to the bottom of the sea within the maritime zone is the title that it has to the bottom of a river.
Under the Federal Constitution, that right of the State extends from high water out. But the various States have a right to modify the rule as they see fit and give to the riparian owner such rights in the part that we call the bank—that is sometimes covered and sometimes it is uncovered—or in the bottom as the State may see fit.
Mr. WALTER. I do not think you have answered my question.
Mr. WALTER. Do you distinguish between the ownership of land along the seacoast and that along the bank of a navigable stream?
Mr. LORET. Well, not insofar as the Federal Government is concerned. The various States make different rules. For instance, in my State the bank of a river belongs to the adjacent landowner, under the law of our State, while the bank of the sea, or the coast of the sea, does not. That depends on whatever may be the rule in the particular State. That is a matter entirely for the States.
As far as the Federal Government goes, this principle starts at high water and goes out. Then the State may modify it as it sees fit.
Now, there is another thing on which there has been some confusion, and that is the difference, if any, between title, ownership, and exclusive control.
There have been some statements her that the State may have the ownership of the sea bottom but not the title. As far as I am concerned, I cannot see where there is any difference. What is title but the right to ownership? That is all it is. And if it has the ownership, it certainly has the right to ownership, and therefore has the title. I cannot see where there is any distinction at all. Ownership and title mean, in effect, the same thing. Title just means the right to ownership
So if they have the ownership, they have the right to it. They, therefore, have the title. And that is all title is.
We have heard a lot of talk about exclusive control. That may be that they do not have the title or ownership; that is, maybe the Federal Government does not have the title to the ownership to the sea bottom but has exclusive control. Well, what is the difference between exclusive control and ownership? What is ownership anyhow but more or less exclusive control ?
Ownership consists of three things; that is, the right to use, the right to dispose of, and the right to destroy. Now, if the Federal Government has complete control, then it has those three rights and it has the ownership.
What is the difference?
Mr. SPRINGER. You said a little while ago that title was the right to the ownership.
Mr. LORET. That is all it is.
Mr. SPRINGER. Then he would not have the naked right to ownership, but he would be the owner if he had the title.
Mr. LORET. Of course, I am not talking about a man who may be the owner but there may be someone in adverse possession. That is a question of possession.
Mr. SPRINGER. Yes.
Mr. LORET. And, as I say, if he has the exclusive control, then he has the ownership, because he has all the attributes of ownership. He has the right to use, the right to dispose of, and the right to destroy. And what more is there to ownership?
In the study that I made in getting out this pamphlet—I did not cover that particularly in the pamphlet—but I ran across these writers of international law that speak of the difference between ownership and exclusive control. Some of them say, well, the nation that has these rights in the maritime zone—those rights are not, some of them say, the ownership; but they do not discuss it. Others say that they are a right of exclusive control but perhaps not technically ownership.
But I ran across one writer. Unfortunately, I do not remember which one he was. But he just sifted it down, in its final analysis, just as I have. He said it does not make any difference whether you call it ownership or exclusive control; it is the same thing. Because if you have exclusive control you have all the attributes of ownership. What is it but ownership?
Of course, even ownership is not absolutely exclusive control, because if I own a plot of ground where I have a more or less exclusive control of it, it may be even then subject to zoning regulations and other matters of that sort which somewhat reduce my exclusive control. But ownership is certainly more or less exclusive control. That is all it is.
Mr. MURDOCK. May I interpose a question at this point?
Mr. MURDOCK. When the United States took over California from Mexico, it became the owner of all lands of the State right down to the shore, we will say?
Mr. LORET. Right on down to the outside limit.
Mr. MURDOCK. Let me just propound this question and then I would like to hear the answer, if you have the answer.
But all of the land of California was owned then by the Federal Government except as it respected and recognized Spanish and Mexican grants to individuals; that is true, is it not?
Mr. LORET. Yes, sir; that is correct.
Mr. MURDOCK. Of course, the public lands of California, after it became United States territory, ran right down to the shore line, did they not? Let us forget for the minute the 3-mile zone. The public lands ran right down to the shore line.
In the reservation of public lands at the time California was admitted to the Union, which were reserved to the Federal Government, all of those public lands right down to the shore line were reserved to the Federal Government?
Mr. LORET. Yes, sir.
Mr. MURDOCK. Under what theory then can you uphold the reservation of everything this side of the shore line and then say that California became the owner of the 3-mile zone, the submerged zone?
Mr. LORET. This is the theory. When the United States by this Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo, I think it was, acquired from Mexico the territory that is now California, it acquired that territory under the jurisprudence of the United States Supreme Court in trust for the future State to be formed out of it. All of the lands that belonged to Mexico and passed to the United States, according to that jurisprudence, were acquired by the United States in trust for the future State, and the United States could only retain so much of that land as the new State consented that it should retain.
The new State in adopting the proposition submitted to it by Congress, making the reservation, consented that it should retain the uplands.
Mr. MURDOCK. There was nothing at all said about the submerged lands?
Mr. LORET. Yes; but may it please the committee, the resolution did not say the public lands. It said the waste and unappropriated lands. That is the way those things read. I am not sure that the particular one for California did, but practically all of them do. And that has been interpreted by the Supreme Court of the United States to mean those lands that were fit for settlement. It was intended that the United States should keep those lands in order to reimburse itself for the expense that it had gone to in acquiring the territory.
Mr. MURDOCK. Suppose at that time we had known as we know now about the production of oil, and suppose at that time we knew of the vast reservoirs of oil along the California coast. Certainly that land would have been fit for occupancy and would have been, and was more desirable than any of the uplands. So I do not think you can put it on that question, that it simply reserved the lands that were fit for occupancy.
Mr. LORET. But it reserved those that it considered fit at that time. That is the jurisprudence of the United States. And at that time the sea bottom and the bottoms of all navigable waters were considered necessary to the State for its uses in the interest of its inhabitants generally.
Mr. MURDOCK. That leads up to the question that I wanted to get to, and it is this: Do you make the same distinction between public lands and these submerged lands that General Fairchild did yesterday?
Mr. LORET. Well, I do not think public lands is technically the right term.
Mr. MURDOCK. But that is the way he referred to them. That is the way we know them out in the West, as public lands.
Mr. LORET. But the reservation is not of public lands but of waste and unappropriated land, which has been determined, as I say, by the jurisprudence. That is the grant to the United States of waste and unappropriated lands. If it had not been for this express reservation they would have vested
in the new State, and the State agreed to that express reservation. By accepting the proposition submitted to it by the Congress, they agreed to it. Otherwise those lands would have vested in the State.
Mr. MURDOCK. Let me ask this further question. Then do you take this position, that the ownership in the State is the same in the submerged lands and on the same theory as its ownership of the bed of navigable streams?
Mr. LORET. The same thing exactly. It comes from the same place.
Now, we submit that the ownership of the sea bottom within the maritime zone is well established in the jurisprudence of the United States. I am not going to argue that here this morning, because it has been ably argued, was ably argued yesterday by Mr. Fairchild, and I have covered the matter in my brief. .
Mr. WALTER. You covered it last year.
Now, if the States own the sea bottom then I submit that they own the oil under the sea bottom, because I do not think anybody will say that the owner of the soil does not own the oil under it. I do not believe anybody will controvert that.
We are presented with a proposition here that this does not involve a question of title, because the proponents of this measure are not asserting their rights or title, but it does involve a question of title because the States must necessarily oppose them by the assertion of their title.
It has been argued that even though the States may own the oil, the Federal Government may take it because it has the right to regulate commerce with foreign nations and between the States. And that it exercises that right particularly in navigable waters and therefore under that right it may take this oil.
I submit that the taking of oil from under the navigable waters has nothing whatever to do with the regulation of commerce no more so than the taking of oil from under dry land.
Mr. WALTER. Do you feel that the right of the sovereign over these waters is restricted solely to the control of navigation ?
Mr. LORET. The right of the Federal Government is restricted everywhere to those rights granted by the Constitution. Now, one of those rights is the right to regulate commerce. Insofar as it may need to exercise that right, it has the right to exercise it over the waters. Insofar as it may need to exercise that right, it has the right to exercise it on the land. But under the guise of exercising
that right it cannot go and do something else. What it does it must do in the exercise of that right. It must have some connection with it.
The taking of this oil would have no more connection with the exercise of the right to regulate commerce than the taking of oil from the land. It would burn just as well in the ships if it were taken from the land. It is not a regulation of commerce to get some oil to run some ships with.
Mr. MURDOCK. You take the position, then, that if it is not submerged lands—that is, between the tidewater mark and the 3-mile limit—the State is the absolute owner of that land and all minerals therein contained.
Mr. LORET. Absolutely.
Mr. MURDOCK. Let us assume that right down to the shore line it is owned by the United States. I locate a lode claim immediately adjacent to the shore line, a quartz vein of gold. That vein apexes on the public land, but it dips very gradually out into the 3-mile zone.
Would I have the right, as the locator of the apex of the vein there, to follow it on its dip
out into the 3-mile zone? Mr. LORET. You would not. The minute you pass that limit of property you would be a trespasser. We had a very similar case to that in Louisiana.
Mr. WALTER. A trespasser against whom?
Mr. LORET. I was just going to give you a case in point. We had a very similar case like that in Louisiana. This did not involve the sea coast but involved a navigable lake. It was the same thing. There was a company that owned some land on the borders of this lake. It put down a shaft and dug a salt mine right down on its own land. Mr. MURDOCK. Do you locate your salt mines in Louisiana the same
. as we locate a lode mine in the mining States?
Mr. LORET. Well, they dig a hole and put an elevator down and send men down, and so on.
Mr. MURDOCK. Well, we do the same things with a placer location. But with a lode location, the mining laws with reference to lodes are in effect in California, and if you locate the apex of a vein here, even if it dips off into other territory, you can follow it on that dip, even under the territory of an adjacent owner.
Mr. LORET. That is because your State law is to that effect and the adjacent owner of the land is subject to a species of servitude or ease
But our law in Louisiana is not to that effect, and you could not do it. It depends on the State law.
Mr. MURDOCK. I am quite sure that you could do it in California.
Mr. LORET. If the California law so provides, the adjacent land owner would be subject to that species of servitude. It would depend upon the State law. If the State law permitted it, then the adjacent landowner would be subject to a species of easement or servitude. In Louisiana that is not the law and you could not do it.
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