Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


This dissertation examines the State of Louisiana's policies and programs for the conservation and regulation of petroleum resources during the period 1901-1940. Where possible, it explores the relationship between Louisiana's regulatory policies and those of other petroleum-producing states, but it offers no comparative judgments regarding the effectiveness and success of these policies. Furthermore, the study considers contemporary federal policies and programs only when they had a direct influence on actions taken or decisions made by state officials in Louisiana. Within the limitations set forth above, this study explores the development, implementation, and effectiveness of Louisiana's petroleum conservation programs; the administrative bureaucracy established to oversee their application and enforcement; the taxation of petroleum-resource production; and the leasing of state-owned property for petroleum exploration. In each of these categories it presents the statutory and legal development of the state's authority; discusses the political controversies that accompanied the delegation and implementation of this authority; and describes the abuses and scandals involving the administration, enforcement, and misapplication of the policies and programs for the conservation and regulation of petroleum resources by Louisiana officials. Throughout most of the period under consideration, the state government's efforts to conserve and regulate the production of petroleum resources were tentative and were limited by financial and manpower constraints. Moreover, during the 1930's, several public officials condoned and participated in unethical and occasionally illegal activities that tarnished the state's reputation regarding the conservation of petroleum resources and the leasing of state-owned lands for petroleum development. By 1940, however, Louisiana had overcome these difficulties and entered the new decade with a nationally-recognized conservation statute, a revised conservation bureaucracy, an adequate system for administering the development of state-owned mineral-bearing properties, and a tax system that made the production of petroleum resources an important source of state revenue. The principal sources consulted in this work are selected archives and manuscript collections, state and federal court cases, government publications, and newspapers.