B-92561, JUNE 29, 1950, 29 COMP. GEN. 528

B-92561: Jun 29, 1950

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REGARDLESS OF WHEN THE LEASES WERE ISSUED. 1950: I HAVE YOUR LETTER OF JANUARY 27. THE REVENUES FROM THE OIL AND GAS LEASES ON THE LANDS IN QUESTION HAVE BEEN DISTRIBUTED BETWEEN A TRUST FUND FOR THE BENEFIT OF CERTAIN INDIANS AND THE STATE OF OKLAHOMA IN THE RATIO OF 62 1/2 PERCENTUM AND 37 1/2 PERCENTUM. THE FACTS LEADING TO THE ENACTMENT OF THAT ACT ARE SET OUT IN DECISION OF OCTOBER 29. THE REVENUES WILL CONTINUE TO BE DISTRIBUTED IN ACCORDANCE WITH PUBLIC RESOLUTION NO. 36 UNLESS SAID RESOLUTION IS REPEALED BY THE ACT OF JUNE 22. THE SAME ARE HEREBY. OR OCCUPATION UNTIL AFTER THE SAME HAVE BEEN CLASSIFIED AND OPENED TO ENTRY. THE SECRETARY OF THE INTERIOR IS HEREBY AUTHORIZED AND DIRECTED TO RECOGNIZE EQUITABLE CLAIMS TO SUCH LANDS BASED ON SETTLEMENT MADE PRIOR TO JANUARY 1.

B-92561, JUNE 29, 1950, 29 COMP. GEN. 528

OIL AND GAS LEASES - RED RIVER OIL LANDS - DISTRIBUTION OF REVENUES THE ACT OF JUNE 22, 1948, EXTENDING THE FEDERAL PUBLIC/LAND LAWS TO THE SOUTH HALF OF THE RED RIVER IN WESTERN OKLAHOMA, NOT HAVING REPEALED, EITHER EXPRESSLY OR BY IMPLICATION, THE SPECIFIC PROVISION IN THE ACT OF JUNE 12, 1926, FOR THE DISTRIBUTION OF REVENUES FROM OIL AND GAS LEASES IN THE SOUTH HALF OF THE RED RIVER BETWEEN A TRUST FUND FOR THE BENEFIT OF CERTAIN INDIANS AND THE STATE OF OKLAHOMA, SUCH REVENUES SHOULD CONTINUE TO BE DISTRIBUTED IN ACCORDANCE WITH THE PROVISIONS OF THE 1926 ACT, REGARDLESS OF WHEN THE LEASES WERE ISSUED, RENEWED, ETC.

COMPTROLLER GENERAL WARREN TO THE SECRETARY OF THE INTERIOR, JUNE 29, 1950:

I HAVE YOUR LETTER OF JANUARY 27, 1950, REQUESTING A DECISION AS TO THE PROPER DISTRIBUTION OF THE REVENUES FROM OIL AND GAS LEASES IN THE SOUTH HALF OF THE RED RIVER, OKLAHOMA.

IN VIEW OF THE ACT OF JUNE 22, 1948, PUBLIC LAW 742, 62 STAT. 576, WHICH EXTENDED THE PUBLIC/LAND LAWS GENERALLY TO THE SOUTH HALF OF THE RED RIVER BETWEEN THE 98TH MERIDIAN AND THE EASTERN BOUNDARY OF THE TERRITORY ESTABLISHED AS GREER COUNTY BY THE ACT OF MAY 4, 1896, 29 STAT. 113, YOU PRESENT THE FOLLOWING SPECIFIC QUESTIONS:

1. SHOULD THE REVENUES DERIVED FROM THE LEASES ISSUED PRIOR TO JUNE 22, 1948, CONTINUE TO BE DISTRIBUTED UNDER THE 1926 ACT, OR SHOULD SUCH REVENUES BE DISTRIBUTED AS PROVIDED IN THE MINERAL LEASING ACT OF 1920, AS AMENDED.

2. UNDER WHICH ACT SHOULD THE REVENUES IN THE FOLLOWING CIRCUMSTANCES BE DISTRIBUTED.

(A) NEW LEASE ISSUED SUBSEQUENT TO JUNE 22, 1948.

(B) NEW LEASE ISSUED SUBSEQUENT TO JUNE 22, 1948, BECAUSE OF PREFERENCE RIGHTS RESULTING FROM AN ORIGINAL LEASE ISSUED PRIOR TO THAT DATE, UNDER SECTION 1 OF THE ACT OF JULY 29, 1942 (56 STAT. 726).

(C)RENEWAL LEASE ISSUED SUBSEQUENT TO JUNE 22, 1948, UNDER SECTION 17 OF THE MINERAL LEASING ACT (41 STAT. 443), AS AMENDED AUGUST 21, 1935 (49 STAT. 676) AND AUGUST 8, 1946 (30 U.S.C., 1946 USED., SEC. 226D); THE ORIGINAL LEASE HAVING BEEN ISSUED PRIOR TO THAT DATE.

(D) EXTENSION UNDER SEC. 17 OF THE MINERAL LEASING ACT AS AMENDED AUGUST 8, 1946 (60 STAT. 51; 30 U.S.C. 1946 USED., SEC. 226), OF AN EXISTING LEASE AFTER 12, 1948; THE ORIGINAL LEASE HAVING BEEN ISSUED PRIOR TO THAT DATE.

(E) ASSIGNMENTS SUBSEQUENT TO JUNE 22, 1948, UNDER SECTION 30 (A) ADDED TO THE MINERAL LEASING ACT BY THE ACT OF AUGUST 8, 1946 (60 STAT. 955; 30 U.S.C. 1946 USED., SEC. 187A), OF A PORTION OF LEASE ISSUED PRIOR TO THAT DATE.

THE REVENUES FROM THE OIL AND GAS LEASES ON THE LANDS IN QUESTION HAVE BEEN DISTRIBUTED BETWEEN A TRUST FUND FOR THE BENEFIT OF CERTAIN INDIANS AND THE STATE OF OKLAHOMA IN THE RATIO OF 62 1/2 PERCENTUM AND 37 1/2 PERCENTUM, RESPECTIVELY, AS SPECIFICALLY PROVIDED IN THE ACT OF JUNE 1926, PUBLIC RESOLUTION NO. 36, 44 STAT. 740. THE FACTS LEADING TO THE ENACTMENT OF THAT ACT ARE SET OUT IN DECISION OF OCTOBER 29, 1926, 6 COMP. GEN. 307, AND NEED NOT BE REPEATED HERE. THE REVENUES WILL CONTINUE TO BE DISTRIBUTED IN ACCORDANCE WITH PUBLIC RESOLUTION NO. 36 UNLESS SAID RESOLUTION IS REPEALED BY THE ACT OF JUNE 22, 1948, IN WHICH CASE THE REVENUES WOULD BE DISTRIBUTED AMONG THE STATE OF OKLAHOMA, THE RECLAMATION FUND, AND THE GENERAL FUND OF THE TREASURY IN THE RATIOS OF 37 1/2, 52 1/2, AND 10 PERCENTUM, RESPECTIVELY, IN ACCORDANCE WITH THE PUBLIC/LAND LAWS.

THE ACT OF JUNE 22, 1948, 62 STAT. 576, PROVIDES AS FOLLOWS:

THAT THE PUBLIC/LAND LAWS OF THE UNITED STATES BE, AND THE SAME ARE HEREBY, EXTENDED TO THE PUBLIC LANDS IN THAT PART OF THE RED RIVER BETWEEN THE MEDIAL LINE AND THE SOUTH BANK OF THE RIVER, IN OKLAHOMA, BETWEEN THE NINETY-EIGHTH MERIDIAN AND THE EAST BOUNDARY OF THE TERRITORY ESTABLISHED AS GREER COUNTY BY THE ACT OF MAY 4, 1896 (29 STAT. 113. PROVIDED, THAT SUCH LANDS SHALL NOT BE SUBJECT TO DISPOSITION, SETTLEMENT, OR OCCUPATION UNTIL AFTER THE SAME HAVE BEEN CLASSIFIED AND OPENED TO ENTRY, AND OTHER DISPOSAL BY THE SECRETARY OF THE INTERIOR ACCORDING TO LAW.

SEC. 2. THE SECRETARY OF THE INTERIOR IS HEREBY AUTHORIZED AND DIRECTED TO RECOGNIZE EQUITABLE CLAIMS TO SUCH LANDS BASED ON SETTLEMENT MADE PRIOR TO JANUARY 1, 1934, AND ALL HOMESTEAD ENTRIES OF SUCH LANDS, THE ALLOWANCE OF WHICH WAS ERRONEOUS BECAUSE THE LANDS WERE NOT SUBJECT TO ENTRY, AND ALL SUSPENDED ENTRIES AND APPLICATIONS TO MAKE FINAL PROOF, ARE HEREBY VALIDATED IF OTHERWISE REGULAR, AS OF THE DATE OF THE REGULAR APPLICATION.

SEC. 3. EXCEPT AS TO EXISTING VALID RIGHTS, THE ACT OF MARCH 4, 1923 (42 STAT. 1448) IS HEREBY REPEALED.

THE PURPOSE OF THE FOREGOING ACT IS STATED IN HOUSE REPORT NO. 1860 AND SENATE REPORT NO. 1496 ON H.R. 5071, 80TH CONGRESS (ENACTED AS THE SAID ACT OF JUNE 22, 1948), AS FOLLOWS:

THE PURPOSE OF THIS BILL IS TO EXTEND THE FEDERAL PUBLIC/LAND LAWS TO CERTAIN ISLANDS LOCATED IN THE RED RIVER IN WESTERN OKLAHOMA.

THESE ISLANDS HAVE BEEN HOMESTEADED BY THREE FAMILIES, ENTRIES UPON WHICH WERE ALLOWED BY THE DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR. WHEN THE HOMESTEADERS FILED THEIR FINAL PROOF, IT WAS FOUND THAT ALTHOUGH TITLE TO THE LANDS WAS VESTED IN THE UNITED STATES, THEY HAD NEVER BEEN BROUGHT UNDER THE PUBLIC/LAND LAWS AND THAT THE ENTRIES THEREFORE HAD BEEN ERRONEOUSLY ALLOWED. IN OKLAHOMA THE GENERAL RULE IS THAT THE PUBLIC/LAND LAWS APPLY ONLY TO AREAS TO WHICH THEY HAVE BEEN SPECIFICALLY EXTENDED. SINCE SUCH ACTION HAS NEVER BEEN TAKEN, THE HOMESTEAD ENTRIES CANNOT BE PERFECTED AND PATENTS CANNOT BE ISSUED UNDER EXISTING LAWS.

H.R. 5071, 80TH CONGRESS, AS ORIGINALLY INTRODUCED INTO THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES, CONTAINED A PROPOSED SECTION 3 AS FOLLOWS:

PATENTS ON NONMINERAL ENTRIES, SELECTIONS, OR LOCATIONS OF SUCH LANDS SHALL CONTAIN A RESERVATION TO THE UNITED STATES OF ALL MINERALS THEREIN, TOGETHER WITH THE RIGHT TO PROSPECT FOR, MINE, AND REMOVE THE SAME UNDER APPLICABLE LAWS RELATING TO SUCH MINERALS: PROVIDED, THAT THE PROCEEDS ACCRUING TO THE UNITED STATES FROM LEASES OF THE OIL AND GAS DEPOSITS IN SUCH LANDS SHALL CONTINUE TO BE DISPOSED OF AS PROVIDED BY EXISTING LAW.

THE PROVISO TO THAT SECTION SPECIFICALLY WOULD HAVE PRESERVED THE DISTRIBUTION PROVIDED IN THE SAID ACT OF JUNE 12, 1926. HOWEVER, THE ENTIRE SECTION WAS STRICKEN FROM THE BILL BY THE COMMITTEE ON PUBLIC LANDS, HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES, BUT THE SOLE PURPOSE FOR SUCH ACTION, AS DISCLOSED BY THE LEGISLATIVE HISTORY, WAS TO REMOVE THE PROVISION RESERVING THE MINERAL RIGHTS TO THE UNITED STATES, SINCE TO RESERVE SUCH MINERAL RIGHTS WOULD HAVE BEEN A BREACH OF GOOD FAITH TO HOMESTEADERS WHO HAD OBTAINED ENTRIES WITHOUT SUCH RESERVATIONS. IN OTHER WORDS, THERE IS NOTHING IN THE LEGISLATIVE HISTORY TO INDICATE THAT THE DISTRIBUTION PROVIDED IN THE 1926 ACT WOULD NOT BE PRESERVED. THE CHANGES IN EXISTING LAW PROPOSED BY H.R. 5071 AND SET OUT IN THE SAID HOUSE AND SENATE REPORTS INCLUDE THE REPEAL OF THE SAID ACT OF MARCH 4, 1923, 42 STAT. 1448, EXCEPT AS TO EXISTING VALID RIGHTS, BUT MAKE NO REFERENCE TO THE 1926 ACT. THE ONLY REASON ADVANCED IN THE REPORTS FOR THE REPEAL OF THE ACT OF MARCH 4, 1923, WHICH RELATES TO MINERAL LEASING IN THIS SPECIFIC AREA, IS THAT SUCH ACT WOULD NO LONGER BE NECESSARY SINCE THE PUBLIC/LAND LAWS INCLUDE THE MINING LAWS AND THE MINERAL LEASING LAWS. IT IS CLEAR THAT THE CONGRESS DID NOT INTEND TO DEPRIVE THE INDIANS OF ANY BENEFITS PREVIOUSLY GIVEN THEM, BUT RATHER INTENDED TO GRANT ADDITIONAL BENEFITS TO THEM.

IT IS A GENERAL PRINCIPLE OF STATUTORY CONSTRUCTION THAT, UPON ENACTMENT, A STATUTE BECOMES A PART OF AND IS TO BE READ IN CONNECTION WITH THE WHOLE BODY OF THE LAW TO WHICH IT RELATES. FURTHERMORE, A SUBSEQUENT STATUTE WILL NOT BE PRESUMED TO HAVE BEEN INTENDED TO ABROGATE A PRIOR STATUTE UNLESS SUCH INTENTION IS MADE CLEAR BY EXPRESS DECLARATIONS OR BY NECESSARY IMPLICATION, AND REPEALS BY IMPLICATION ARE NOT FAVORED IN THE LAW. SEE 50 AM. JUR., STATUTES, SEC. 339, ET SEQ. IN VIEW OF THE LEGISLATIVE HISTORY OF THE STATUTES INVOLVED AND OF THE FOREGOING PRINCIPLES OF STATUTORY CONSTRUCTION, THE CONCLUSION APPEARS INESCAPABLE THAT PUBLIC LAW 742, APPROVED JUNE 22, 1948, DID NOT REPEAL THE PROVISIONS OF PUBLIC RESOLUTION NO. 36, APPROVED JUNE 12, 1926. HENCE, THE REVENUES FROM OIL AND GAS LEASES IN THE SOUTH HALF OF THE RED RIVER, OKLAHOMA, ARE FOR DISTRIBUTION IN ACCORDANCE WITH THE SPECIFIC PROVISIONS OF PUBLIC RESOLUTION NO. 36, SUPRA, IRRESPECTIVE OF WHETHER SUCH LEASES WERE ISSUED, RENEWED, EXTENDED, OR ASSIGNED PRIOR OR SUBSEQUENT TO THE SAID ACT OF JUNE 22, 1948.