Oil: Slanted Larceny

No oil strike in the gaudy history of Texas has inspired more plundering than the 43-mile East Texas field first tapped in 1930 and still credited with more reserves (3 billion bbl.) than any other in the nation. It was to stop East Texans from pumping oil out of their wells faster than U.S. consumers could use it that Congress in 1935 passed the Connally Hot Oil Act.* Last week, state investigators—with 30 Texas Rangers on hand to protect them from reprisals—were turning up case after case of outright piracy in the East Texas field. It was done with slanted...

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