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6 Stan. L. Rev. 23 (1953-1954)
The Outer Continental Shelf Lands Act: Key to a New Frontier

handle is hein.journals/stflr6 and id is 59 raw text is: The Outer Continental Shelf Lands Act:
Key to a New Frontier
WAUIEN M. CISTOP1-ER
The Outer Continental Shelf Lands Act is the official title
of an epochal statute signed by the President on August 7, 1953v1
By this Act Congress for the first time asserted jurisdiction over
some 261,ooo square miles of sea bed off our shores, an area almost
one-tenth that of the continental United States.2 The mineral
resources and food potential of this area have been said to make
its acquisition more important to the nation than the Louisiana
Purchase.' To the people who will man the amazing installations
devised to develop these resources, Congress has applied a unique
combination of federal and state laws. A new federal leasing pol-
icy has been forged to meet the special needs of this submerged area.
And in addition, this Act is of vital importance in irternational law.
Yet the striking fact is that the passage of the Outer Conti-
nental Shelf Lands Act has gone almost unnoticed and unappre-
ciated. The chief reason for this lack of attention is that the Act
has been overshadowed by the tidelands controversy, which
culminated on May 22, 1953, in the passage of the Submerged Lands
Act, vesting in the respective states ownership and control of the
lands beneath navigable waters within their historic boundaries.4
After the extended debate in Congress and in the press on the
*B.S., 1945, University of Southern California; LL.B., 1949, Stanford University.
Law Clerk to Justice William 0. Douglas, Supreme Court of the United States, 1949 Term.
Member of the California and United States Supreme Court Bars. Since 1950, associated
with the law firm of O'Melveny & Myers, Los Angeles. During the time submerged lands
legislation was before Congress, and prior thereto, that firm represented oil companies hold-
ing state-issued leases on submerged offshore lands. The author is indebted to William W.
Clary, Esq., a member of the firm of O'Melveny & Myers, for his valuable aid and counsel
in the preparation of this article.
1. 67 STAT. 462 (1953). For the full text of the Act see pp. 61-68 infra.
2. SEr. REP. No. 411, 83d Cong., 1st Sess. 5 (1953).
3. Statement of Dr. Harold F. Clark, Professor in Charge of Educational Economics
at Columbia University, Hearings before Senate Interior and Insular Affairs Committee
on Sen. J. Res. 13 and Other Bills, 83d Cong., 1st Sess. 354 (1953).
4. 67 STAT. 29 (1953). This Act vests in the coastal states ownership and control
of part of the submerged lands over which the United States was held to have paramount
power and full dominion by the Supreme Court in three recent decisions. United States v.
Texas, 339 U.S. 707 (1950); United States v. Louisiana, 339 U.S. 699 (1950); United
States v. California, 332 U.S. 19 (1947). All but the recent phases of the federal-state
dispute reflected in those decisions are detailed in BARTLEY, Tsm TmsLArnms On. CoNTRO-
vEnsy (1953). See Hanna, The Submerged Lands Cases, 3 STAN. L. Rlv. 193 (1951).
The constitutionality of this Act has been challenged in the Supreme Court by the State
of Alabama and in the United States District Court by the State of Arkansas. Alabama
v. Texas, No. - Original, 1953 Term; Arkansas v. McKay, Civil No. 3109-53.
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