Pipeline Enterprise and Intra-industry Controversy, 1891-1901
ALTHOUGH the antitrust movement, which gained momentum in the nineties, focused national attention on Standard Oil, none of the Trust's attackers had a concrete program for a public policy dealing with its pipeline power. Instead of relying on public policy, independent producers and refiners joined forces and with the aid of pipelines, one of which was the first refined oil trunk line, offered a challenge which Standard Oil and its railroad allies could not eliminate.
The nature of the resulting intra-industry conflict was revealed to the public in hearings before the United States Industrial Commission in 1899. The commission heard a parade of witnesses from the oil industry. Some offered indictments of Standard Oil. Others provided rebuttals. Both sides stressed the importance of pipelines, but the independents, having adopted pipelines as competitive weapons as well as having followed Standard Oil's pattern of integrated operations, offered no suggestions for a public policy toward these oil carriers.