The Saratoga Wells Case.
Stuart Lindsley, a bondholder, applied for a preliminary injunction against the Natural Carbonic Gas company and others, on the ground that the company bored wells to extract carbonic gas, and thus deprive the springs, which had given Saratoga, N. Y., its fame, of the properties they once possessed. The application was denied. It was contended that the corporation did not get the equal protection of the laws, in that a State statute forbade pumping onlv in the case of wells bored into the rock. The last lines of the statute apply to ads generally, whereas, all the rest of the section applies solely to acts connected with wells bored into the rock. The court held that the owner of wells in fissures, or that merely reach the rock, may, subject to this restriction, increase the natural flow of the water or of the gas, and impound the gas to be sold as a commodity.” The objections, according to the court, “caused much doubt, because there seems to be a discrimination between persons carrying on the same business. The seat of the gas is in the rock. If the mineral waters and the gas come from a common source of supply, it would seem to follow that the pumping of any well, whether bored into the rock or merely reaching the rock, would diminish the supply of each. But, if so, the pumping of wells not bored into the rock, which injures other wells, is made by the statute unlawful, and there iis no practical discrimination.” Federal court of first instance, acting upon affidavits, assumes a grave responhibility in pronouncing a State statute unconstitutional, as the legislature must be presumed to have acted with full information on the subject regulated with an honest purpose. Although the court did not discover it in the papers submitted, “there may be a reasonable basis for the discrimifiation between wells that do not go into the rock and wells that do. At all events, pumping of wells that do not go into the rock, which result in injury to other wells, is unlawful, and may be enjoined just as the pumping of wells that go into the rock may be enjoined.” The State courts if asked to enforce this law would presumably refuse a preliminary injunction, “if it is made clear that the law does unreasonably discriminate between persons carrying on the same business.”