belt along its coast, and that the Federal Government rather than the state has paramount rights in and power over that belt, an incident to which is full dominion over the resources of the soil under that water area, including oil.'
In order for lands to be public lands of the United States and subject to disposition under general laws they must first be owned by the United States. In the case of the marginal sea lands there has been no holding of ownership by the United States. Therefore while these are lands in which the interest of the United States is paramount, they are not public lands.
In consideration of the belief which prevailed for many years that the States held title to all submerged lands within their territorial jurisdiction, and of the California decision which finally established the interest of the United States in these lands but did not hold that they were owned by the United States, the Court is of the opinion that the marginal sea lands have not been and cannot now be regarded as public lands of the United States.
The holding of the Supreme Court in the case of United States v. California, supra, was nullified by the passage of the Act of May 22, 1953,
commonly known as the Submerged Lands Act. This Act quit-claimed the paramount interest of the United States in the submerged coastal lands and confirmed and established State title to these lands. However, any rights existing in these areas at the time of the enactment of the Submerged Lands Act were preserved by the Congress through the use of the following language in Section 8 of the Act.
'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: * * *.'
Thus such rights, if any, as the Plaintiffs may have acquired have not been impaired in any way although the submerged lands upon which the lease applications have been filed are no longer under the jurisdiction of the United States.
Since it is the responsibility of the Court, in the interpretation of Statutes, to give effect to the intent of Congress,
the Court in the instant situation has endeavored to ascertain whether or not Congress intended that marginal sea lands should be included within the term Public Domain as that term is used in the Mineral Leasing Act. Since the Act does not, in terms, specifically mention the marginal sea lands the Court examined the legislative history of the Act in an effort to determine whether any consideration was given to the inclusion of these areas and whether they was any reference to the matter in any of the legislative proceedings which might serve to illuminate the subject. This review of the legislative history failed to disclose any evidence which would indicate that Congress contemplated these areas would be subject to lease under the Act. There are, however, provisions in the Act requiring survey, erection of monuments upon the land and the outlining of the boundaries of the tract upon the ground. The Defendant points out the fact of the physical inapplicability of these requirements to land lying under the marginal sea and contends that this fact is a definite indication that the submerged lands were not within the contemplation of Congress when it enacted this legislation. The Court is of the opinion that the contention of the Defendant is sound and concludes that it is impossible to reconcile the inclusion of the above requirements as to survey, erection of monuments upon the land and the outlining of the boundaries of the tract upon the ground with a legislative intention to include the submerged lands in question within the scope of the Act.
Although Congress had on several occasions extended the applicability of the Mineral Leasing Act to lands which were not within the scope of the original act,
it has not taken any action specifically to include submerged coastal lands within the provisions of the act. These areas have been referred to at only one point in the several Acts which have amended the Mineral Leasing Act or extended its scope. This reference is found in the Acquired Lands Act of 1947,
an act which authorized the issuance of mineral leases on lands which had been acquired by the United States. The acquired lands which are subject to the Act are, so far as relevant, defined in the Act to 'include all lands heretofore or hereafter acquired by the United States to which the 'mineral leasing laws' have not been extended * * *'. Submerged coastal lands appear to have been mentioned in this Act only for the purpose of expressly excluding them from its effect. The Solicitor in his opinion assumed that the reason for this exclusion of submerged coastal lands was that the Mineral Leasing Laws, as amended, had not been extended to these areas and that, therefore, they would be covered by the new act unless excluded from its effect. The Court, in the circumstances, is persuaded that this assumption of the Solicitor is justified.
The Court concludes, therefore, that the marginal sea lands are not public lands of the United States, and that they are not subject to lease under the Mineral Leasing Act which is limited in its applicability to public lands of the United States. The Plaintiffs prayer for injunctive relief is hereby denied.
Counsel for Defendant will prepare appropriate findings of fact, conclusions of law and order.