C.C. Julian Oil & Royalties Co. v. Capshaw

Decision Date14 October 1930
Docket Number21640.
Citation292 P. 841,145 Okla. 237,1930 OK 452
PartiesC. C. JULIAN OIL & ROYALTIES CO. v. CAPSHAW et al., Corporation Com'rs.
CourtOklahoma Supreme Court

Syllabus by the Court.

Requirement statute shall embrace but one subject is satisfied if act has but one general subject fairly indicated by title; that act involves many details does not offend requirement each act embrace but one subject, if all details relate to same general subject (Const. art. 5, § 57).

Section 57, art. 5, of the Constitution of Oklahoma, providing every act of the Legislature shall embrace but one subject, which shall be clearly expressed in its title, is satisfied if the act has but one general subject and that is fairly indicated by the title. It may have many details, but if they all relate to the same general subject or object they are properly included therein. The purpose of this provision of the Constitution was to forbid the Legislature from embracing in any one act two or more unconnected subjects. Okla Light & Power Co. v. Corporation Commission of Oklahoma et al., 96 Okl. 19, 220 P. 54.

Statute empowering corporation commission to make regulations to prevent waste of oil held not void as conferring nondelegable power; statute empowering corporation commission to make regulations to prevent waste of oil held not invalid for uncertainty (Comp. St. 1921, §§ 7954-7963).

Chapter 25, Session Laws 1915 (Comp. St. 1921, §§ 7954-7963) conferring upon the corporation commission the power to make rules and regulations to prevent the waste of crude oil and leaving to that body the power to determine what constitutes waste, in not such a delegation of power to the commission as to render the said act unconstitutional and in not invalid for uncertainty.

Legislature under police power, may regulate landowners' use and enjoyment of natural resources to prevent waste and infringement of rights of others; legislation restricting use of natural resources, such as oil, does not infringe constitutional inhibition against taking property without due process, denial of equal protection of laws, or taking property without just compensation.

Under the police power of the state, the Legislature may regulate and restrict the use and enjoyment of landowners of the natural resources of the state, such as oil, so as to protect it from waste, and prevent the infringement of the rights of others. Such legislation does not infringe the constitutional inhibitions against taking of property without due process of law, denial of the equal protection of the laws, or taking property without just compensation.

Surface owners have right to drill for and reduce to possession oil and gas; it is within state's police power, in keeping with due process, to require surface owners to produce oil and gas under reasonable regulations to prevent some taking more than their equitable share (Const. art. 5, § 36).

Surface owners of land have the right to drill for and reduce to possession the oil and gas beneath; but this right is to all of the owners alike, and when numerous surface owners seek to produce from a common pool it is within the police power of the state, in keeping with due process of law, to require the several surface owners to produce same under reasonable regulations to the end that some of said owners may not take from the common source more than their equitable share.

Additional Syllabus by Editorial Staff.

Statute empowering corporation commission to make rules to prevent waste of crude oil held not unconstitutional as embracing more than one subject (Comp. St. 1921, §§ 7954-7963; Const. art, 5, § 57).

Original action in the Supreme Court by the C. C. Julian Oil & Royalties Company against the Corporation Commission, composed of Fred Capshaw and others, for a writ of prohibition prohibiting the enforcement of certain orders of the Commission prohibiting the waste of oil.

Writ denied.

RILEY and CULLISON, JJ., dissenting.

John Head, of Oklahoma City, for petitioner.

J. Berry King, Atty. Gen., and W. L. Murphy, Asst. Atty. Gen. (C. B. Ames, of Oklahoma City, of counsel), for respondents.

E. S. Ratliff, of Oklahoma City, for Corporation Commission.

Geo. A. Henshaw, of Oklahoma City, C. C. Herndon, J. C. Denton, and W. C. Franklin, all of Tulsa, J. W. Finley, of Chanute, Kan., R. L. Gordon, of Bartlesville, T. J. Flannelly, of Independence, Kan., Joe. T. Dickerson, of St. Louis, Mo., P.J. Carey, of Oklahoma City, Geo. Otey, of Ardmore, Frank B. Burford, of Oklahoma City, Alvin F. Molony, Harry H. Smith, and W. P. Z. German, all of Tulsa, and Harry O. Glasser, McKeever, Elam & Stewart, Nathan Scarritt, and E. S. Champlin, all of Enid, amici curiæ.

GREEN Special Justice.

This is an original proceeding in this court, in which the plaintiff seeks a writ of prohibition against the corporation commission of the state of Oklahoma to prohibit the enforcement by said commission of certain orders, rules, and regulations adopted by the commission to prevent waste of crude oil in the state of Oklahoma.

The corporation commission, respondents herein, filed a response to which was attached copies of said orders, together with copies of the proceedings leading up to the orders themselves. In substance, the several orders and modifications thereof pleaded by respondents provide for a comprehensive plan of conservation and proration of crude oil produced in the flush and semiflush production pools of the state, including the Oklahoma City pool, in order to prevent economic waste, underground waste, surface waste, and waste incident to production of crude oil or petroleum in excess of transportation, or market facilities and reasonable market demand.

The orders classify the several oil-producing fields of the state, and provide, among other things, that each producer in said field so classified and described might take from such pool or area only such proportion of all crude oil and petroleum that might be produced therefrom, under said order, as the production of the well or wells of such owner in said pool bore to the total potential production of such pool or area. Said orders also provide for an umpire, operator's committees, agents, etc., to carry out the provisions of said order and regulations.

The plaintiff in its petition contends that the corporation commission was without authority to make the orders complained of, in that the oil conservation laws of the state of Oklahoma did not confer such authority upon it; and, second, if it should be held that such authority was conferred or attempted to be conferred under said conservation laws, that the same was violative of the state and federal Constitutions, and in its brief states its contention as follows:

"(1) The law itself is unconstitutional.

"(2) Many provisions of the law are unconstitutional.

"(3) The act itself, even if valid in all its provisions, does not confer the authority attempted to be exercised.

"(4) The orders go far beyond the provisions of the law, and to such extent are invalid.

"(5) The act itself says the Commission shall prevent unreasonable discrimination in favor of one common source of supply as against another. The orders are discriminatory and therefore void."

The applicable sections of the statute involved (C. O. S. 1921) are:

"Sec. 7954. Waste prohibited. That the production of crude oil or petroleum in the State of Oklahoma, in such manner and under such conditions as to constitute waste, is hereby prohibited."
"Sec. 7956. Waste defined--protection. That the term 'waste' as used herein, in addition to its ordinary meaning, shall include economic waste, underground waste, surface waste, and waste incident to the production of crude oil or petroleum in excess of transportation or marketing facilities or reasonable market demands. The Corporation Commission shall have authority to make rules and regulations for the prevention of such wastes, and for the protection of all fresh water strata, and oil and gas bearing strata, encountered in any well drilled for oil.
"Sec. 7957. Production regulated--discrimination of purchaser prohibited. That whenever the full production from any common source of supply of crude oil or petroleum in this State can only be obtained under conditions constituting waste as herein defined, then any person, firm or corporation, having the right to drill into and produce oil from any such common source of supply, may take therefrom only such proportion of all crude oil and petroleum that may be produced therefrom, without waste, as the production of the well or wells of any such person, firm or corporation, bears to the total production of such common source of supply. The Corporation Commission is authorized to so regulate the taking of crude oil or petroleum from any or all such common sources of supply, within the State of Oklahoma, as to prevent the inequitable or unfair taking, from a common source of supply, *** prevent unreasonable discrimination in favor of any one such common source of supply as against another."
"Sec. 7959. Enforcement of act--hearings before corporation commission. That any person, firm, or corporation, or the Attorney General on behalf of the State, may institute proceedings before the Corporation Commission, or apply for a hearing before said Commission, upon any question relating to the enforcement of this act, and jurisdiction is hereby conferred upon said Commission to hear and determine the same. Said Commission shall set a time and place, when and where such hearing shall be had and give reasonable notice thereof to all persons or classes interested therein, by publication in some newspaper or newspapers, having general circulation in the State, and in addition thereto,

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