Washington : Government Printing Office
|Chap. 65||Submerged Lands Act.|
|Sec. 2||"Lands beneath navigable waters."|
|Sec. 2||"Coast line."|
|Sec. 2||"Grantees" and "lessees."|
|Sec. 2||30 "Natural resources."|
|Sec. 3||Title and powers.|
|Sec. 3||Claims of U. S.|
|Sec. 3||Leases in effect on June 5, 1950.|
|Sec. 3||Rights of U. S. respecting navigation, etc.|
|Sec. 3||Surface waters west of 98th meridian.|
|Sec. 7||5 U. S. C. 485; 16 U.S.C. 460d, 825a; 30 U. S. C. 35, 36, 38, 43, 46, 47, 51, 52; 33 U. S. C. 701a-1, 701c, 701f, 701j and notes, 708, 709; 43 U. S. C. 321-323, 325, 327-329, 372-498 passim, 661, 766.|
|Sec. 9||Resources seaward of Continental Shelf.|
|Sec. 10||18 FR 405.|
Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled, That this Act may be cited as the "Submerged Lands Act".
When used in this Act—
(a) The term "lands beneath navigable waters" means—
(1) all lands within the boundaries of each of the respective States which are covered by nontidal waters that were navigable under the laws of the United States at the time such State became a member of the Union, or acquired sovereignty over such lands and waters thereafter, up to the ordinary high water mark as heretofore or hereafter modified by accretion, erosion, and reliction;
(2) all lands permanently or periodically covered by tidal waters up to but not above the line of mean high tide and seaward to a line three geographical miles distant from the coast line of each such State and to the boundary line of each such State where in any case such boundary as it existed at the time such State became a member of the Union, or as heretofore approved by Congress, extends seaward (or into the Gulf of Mexico) beyond three geographical miles, and
(3) all filled in, made, or reclaimed lands which formerly were lands beneath navigable waters, as hereinabove defined;
(b) The term "boundaries" includes the seaward boundaries of a State or its boundaries in the Gulf of Mexico or any of the Great Lakes as they existed at the time such State became a member of the Union, or as heretofore approved by the Congress, or as extended or confirmed pursuant to section 4 hereof but in no event shall the term "boundaries" or the term "lands beneath navigable waters" be interpreted as extending from the coast line more than three geographical miles into the Atlantic Ocean or the Pacific Ocean, or more than three marine leagues into the Gulf of Mexico;
(c) The term "coast line" means the line of ordinary low water along that portion of the coast which is in direct contact with the open sea and the line marking the seaward limit of inland waters;
(d) The terms "grantees" and "lessees" include (without limiting the generality thereof) all political subdivisions, municipalities, public and private corporations, and other persons holding grants or leases from a State, or from its predecessor sovereign if legally validated, to lands beneath navigable waters if such grants or leases were issued in accordance with the constitution, statutes, and decisions of the courts of the State in which such lands are situated, or of its predecessor sovereign: Provided, however, That nothing herein shall be construed its conferring upon said grantees or lessees any greater rights or
interests other than are described herein and in their respective grants from the State, or its predecessor or sovereign;
(e) The term "natural resources" includes, without limiting the generality thereof, oil, gas, and all other minerals, and fish, shrimp, oysters, clams, crabs, lobsters, sponges, kelp, and other marine animal and plant life but does not include water power, or the use of water for the production of power;
(f) The term "lands beneath navigable waters" does not include the beds of streams in lands now or heretofore constituting a part of the public lands of the United States if such streams were not meandered in connection with the public survey of such lands under the laws of the United States and if the title to the beds of such streams was lawfully patented or conveyed by the United States or any State to any person;
(g) The term "State" means any State of the Union;
(h) The term "person" includes, in addition to a natural person, an association, a State, a political subdivision of a State, or a private, public, or municipal corporation.
RIGHTS OF THE STATES.—
(a) It is hereby determined and declared to be in the public interest that (1) title to and ownership of the lands beneath navigable waters within the boundaries of the respective States, and the natural resources within such lands and waters, and (2) the right and power to manage, administer, lease, develop, and use the said lands and natural resources all in accordance with applicable State law be, and they are hereby, subject to the provisions hereof, recognized, confirmed, established, and vested in and assigned to the respective States or the persons who were on June 5, 1950, entitled thereto under the law of the respective States in which the land is located, and the respective grantees, lessees, or successors in interest thereof;
(b) (1) The United States hereby releases and relinquishes unto said States and persons aforesaid, except as otherwise reserved herein, all right, title, and interest of the United States, if any it has, in and to all aid lands, improvements, and natural resources; (2) the United States hereby releases and relinquishes all claims of the United States, if any it has, for money or damages arising out of any operations of said States or persons pursuant to State authority upon or within said lands and navigable waters; and (3) the Secretary of the Interior or the Secretary of the Navy or the Treasurer of the United States shall pay to the respective States or their grantees issuing leases covering such lands or natural resources all moneys paid thereunder to the Secretary of the Interior or to the Secretary of the Navy or to the Treasurer of the United States and subject to the control of any of them or to the control of the United States on the effective date of this Act, except that portion of such moneys which (1) is required to be returned to a lessee; or (2) is deductible as provided by stipulation or agreement between the United States and any of said States;
(c) The rights, powers, and titles hereby recognized, confirmed, established, and vested in and assigned to the respective States and their grantees are subject to each lease executed by a State, or its grantee, which was in force and effect on June 5, 1950, in accordance with its terms and provisions and the laws of the State issuing, or whose grantee issued, such lease, and such rights, powers, and titles are further subject to the rights herein now granted to any person holding any such lease to continue to maintain the lease, and to conduct operations thereunder, in accordance with its provisions, for the full term thereof, and any extensions, renewals, or replacements
authorized therein, or heretofore authorized by the laws of the State issuing, or whose grantee issued such lease: Provided, however, That, if oil or gas was not being produced from such lease on and before December 11, 1950, or if the primary term of such lease has expired since December 11, 1950, then for a term from the effective date hereof equal to the term remaining unexpired on December 11, 1950, under the provisions of such lease or any extensions, renewals, or replacements authorized therein, or heretofore authorized by the laws of the State issuing, or whose grantee issued, such lease: Provided, however, That within ninety days from the effective date hereof (i) the lessee shall pay to the State or its grantee issuing such lease all rents, royalties, and other sums payable between June 5, 1950, and the effective date hereof, under such lease and the laws of the State issuing or whose grantee issued such lease, except such rents, royalties, and other sums as have been paid to the State, its grantee, the Secretary of the Interior or the Secretary of the Navy or the Treasurer of the United States and not refunded to the lessee; and (ii) the lessee shall file with the Secretary of the Interior or the Secretary of the Navy and with the State issuing or whose grantee issued such lease, instruments consenting to the payment by the Secretary of the Interior or the Secretary of the Navy or the Treasurer of the United States to the State or its grantee issuing the lease, of all rents, royalties, and other payments under the control of the Secretary of the Interior or the Secretary of the Navy or the Treasurer of the United States or the United States which have been paid, under the lease, except such rentals, royalties, and other payments as have also been paid by the lessee to the State or its grantee;
(d) Nothing in this Act shall affect the use, development, improvement, or control by or under the constitutional authority of the United States of said lands and waters for the purposes of navigation or flood control or the production of power, or be construed as the release or relinquishment of any rights of the United States arising under the constitutional authority of Congress to regulate or improve navigation, or to provide for flood control, or the production of power;
(e) Nothing in this Act shall be construed as affecting or intended to affect or in any way interfere with or modify the laws of the States which lie wholly or in part westward of the ninety-eighth meridian, relating to the ownership and control of ground and surface waters; and the control, appropriation, use, and distribution of such waters shall continue to be in accordance with the laws of such States.
The seaward boundary of each original coastal State is hereby approved and confirmed as a line three geographical miles distant from its coast line or, in the case of the Great Lakes, to the international boundary. Any State admitted subsequent to the formation of the Union which has not already done so may extend its seaward boundaries to a line three geographical miles distant from its coast line, or to the international boundaries of the United States in the Great Lakes or any other body of water traversed by such boundaries. Any claim heretofore or hereafter asserted either by constitutional provision, statute, or otherwise, indicating the intent of a State so to extend its boundaries is hereby approved and confirmed, without prejudice to its claim, if any it has, that its boundaries extend beyond that line. Nothing in this section is to be construed as questioning or in any manner prejudicing the existence of any State's seaward boundary beyond three geographical miles if it was so provided by its constitution or laws prior to or at the time such State became a member of the Union, or if it has been heretofore approved by Congress.
EXCEPTIONS FROM OPERATION OF SECTION 3 OF THIS ACT.—
There is excepted from the operation of section 3 of this Act—
(a) all tracts or parcels of land together with all accretions thereto,
resources therein, or improvements thereon, title to which has been lawfully and expressly acquired by the United States from any State or from any person in whom title had vested under the law of the State or of the United States, and all lands which the United States lawfully holds under the law of the State; all lands expressly retained by or ceded to the United States when the State entered the Union (otherwise than by a general retention or cession of lands underlying the marginal sea); all lands acquired by the United States by eminent domain proceedings, purchase, cession, gift, or otherwise in a proprietary capacity; all lands filled in, built up, or otherwise relcaimed by the United States for its own use; and any rights the United States has in lands presently and actually occupied by the United States under claim of right;
(b) such lands beneath navigable waters held, or any interest in which is held by the United States for the benefit of any tribe, band, or group of Indians or for individual Indians; and
(c) all structures and improvements constructed by the United States in the exercise of its navigational servitude.
POWERS RETAINED BY THE UNITED STATES.—
(a) The United States retains all its navigational servitude and rights in and powers of regulation and control of said lands and navigable waters for the constitutional purposes of commerce, navigation, national defense, and international affairs, all of which shall be paramount to, but shall not be deemed to include, proprietary rights of ownership, or the rights of management, administration, leasing, use, and development of the lands and natural resources which are specifically recognized, confirmed, established, and vested in and assigned to the respective States and others by section 3 of this Act,
(b) In time of war or when necessary for national defense, and the Congress or the President shall so prescribe, the United States shall have the right of first refusal to purchase at the prevailing market price, all or any portion of the said natural resources, or to acquire and use any portion of said lands by proceeding in accordance with due process of law and paying just compensation therefor.
Nothing in this Act shall be deemed to amend, modify, or repeal the Acts of July 26, 1866 (14 Stat. 251), July 9, 1870 (16 Stat. 217), March 3, 1877 (19 Stat. 377), June 17, 1902 (32 Stat. 388), and December 22, 1944 (58 Stat. 887), and Acts amendatory thereof or supplementary thereto.
Nothing contained in this Act shall affect such rights, if any, as may have been acquired under any law of the United States by any person in lands subject to this Act and such rights, if any, shall be governed by the law in effect at the time they may have been acquired: Provided, however, That nothing contained in this Act is intended or shall be construed as a finding, interpretation, or construction by the Congress that the law under which such rights may be claimed in fact or in law applies to the lands subject to this Act, or authorizes or compels the granting of such rights in such lands, and that the determination of the applicability or effect of such law shall be unaffected by anything contained in this Act.
Nothing in this Act shall be deemed to affect in any wise the rights of the United States to the natural resources of that portion of the subsoil and seabed of the Continental Shelf lying seaward and outside of the area of lands beneath navigable waters, as defined in section 2 hereof, all of which natural resources appertain to the United States, and the jurisdiction and control of which by the United States is hereby confirmed.
Executive Order Numbered 10426, dated January 16, 1953, entitled "Setting Aside Submerged Lands of the Continental Shelf as a Naval Petroleum Reserve", is hereby revoked insofar as it applies to any lands beneath navigable waters as defined in section 2 hereof.
If any provision of this Act, or any
section, subsection, sentence, clause, phrase or individual word, or the application thereof to any person or circumstance is held invalid, the validity of the remainder of the Act and of the application of any such provision, section, subsection, sentence, clause, phrase or individual word to other persons and circumstances shall not be affected thereby; without limiting the generality of the foregoing, if subsection 3 (a) 1, 3 (a) 2, 3 (b) 1, 3 (b) 2, 3 (b) 3, or 3 (c) or any provision of any of those subsections is held invalid, such subsection or provision shall be held separable and the remaining subsections and provisions shall not be affected thereby.
Approved, May 22, 1953.