The Tidelands Oil Controversy: A Legal and Historical Analysis by Ernest R. BartleyThe Tidelands Oil Controversy: A Legal and Historical Analysis by Ernest R. Bartley

The Tidelands Oil Controversy: A Legal and Historical Analysis

byErnest R. Bartley

Paperback | January 23, 2015

Pricing and Purchase Info


Earn 248 plum® points

In stock online

Ships free on orders over $25

Not available in stores


This study is not written from the narrow perspective of “Who gets the oil?” It is a thoughtful probing of an issue—the ownership and control of the submerged soils of the marginal sea—the outcome of which may go far to determine the division of powers between states and nation under the American federal system.

American constitutional law, international law, theory of federalism, American politics, the machinations of pressure groups, use of propaganda techniques, and issues of social and economic policy—all these features of American government and many more are inherent in the controversy.

In 1947, in a precedent-making decision, the Supreme Court enunciated the principle that the federal government, not the states, has “paramount rights in and power over” the marginal seas which border the coastal states, and has “full dominion over the resources under that water area, including oil.”

For more than 150 years the littoral states had exercised uncontested jurisdiction and ownership over the marginal-sea area, subject only to the powers specifically granted to the national government by the Constitution. The states had regulated the fisheries within the three-mile limit, applying state laws to vessels licensed under federal statutes. Long before oil possibilities were thought of, they had granted or leased areas in the marginal seas to private persons and corporations for purposes of land reclamation and harbor development, dredging for sand and gravel, development of oyster beds, and similar projects. These property rights can far exceed in value the wealth to be derived from petroleum.

A just settlement of the issue, says the author, calls for restoration to the states of control of the marginal sea out to their historical boundaries—three miles in most cases; three leagues, or ten and one-half miles, in the case of Texas and the west coast of Florida.

This study is based upon thorough investigation of all literature on the subject and personal interviews and correspondence with leaders on both sides of the controversy.

Ernest R. Bartley (1919–2008) was Professor of Political Science and later Professor of Urban and Regional Planning at the University of Florida.
Title:The Tidelands Oil Controversy: A Legal and Historical AnalysisFormat:PaperbackDimensions:324 pages, 9 × 6 × 0.68 inPublished:January 23, 2015Publisher:University Of Texas PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0292780273

ISBN - 13:9780292780279

Look for similar items by category:


Table of Contents

  • Preface
  • 1. The Problem
  • 2. The Territorial Concept of the Marginal Sea
  • 3. Claims of the Original States to Submerged Lands
  • 4. Claims of Later States to Submerged Lands
  • 5. California’s Claims to Submerged Lands
  • 6. Texas’ Claims to Submerged Lands
  • 7. Congressional Policy on Submerged Lands Prior to World War II
  • 8. Executive Policy on Submerged Lands Prior to United States v. California
  • 9. The Quitclaim Attempt in 1945
  • 10. United States v. California
  • 11. The Immediate Aftermath of United States v. California
  • 12. United States v. Louisiana and United States v. Texas
  • 13. Quitclaim or Federal Control?
  • 14. The New Doctrine of Paramount Powers
  • 15. Conclusions
  • Appendix: Congressional Hearings on Control of Submerged Lands in the Marginal Sea
  • Table of Cases
  • Index