Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History

Interview with Oscar H. Geralds, Jr., July 27, 1989

Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History, University of Kentucky Libraries
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00:00:05 - Environmentalism in Kentucky

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Partial Transcript: This is an unrehearsed interview with Oscar Geralds in Lexington, Kentucky on July 27th, 1989.

Segment Synopsis: Geralds talks of the various legislative and non-legislative efforts he has been involved with that sought to protect Kentucky's natural resources. Geralds also describes the role of the Sierra Club in the implementation of state environmental laws.

Keywords: Activism; Amendments; Efforts; Kentucky Wild Rivers Bill Governor; Law practice; Legal problems; Louie B. Nunn; Special commission; Strip mining regulations; The Nature Conservancy; Wendell H. Ford

Subjects: Attorney; Compromise (Ethics); Environmental protection; Environmentalism; Hearings; Legislation; Lobbying; Monitoring; Rivers; Sierra club; Staff; Strip mining; Work

00:08:03 - Life and career

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Partial Transcript: Okay, um, guide me as to how much you want, but I was born in Louisville, Kentucky.

Segment Synopsis: Geralds provides a summary of his life and early legal career. Additionally, Geralds explains his involvement in the establishment of a Kentucky chapter of the Sierra Club.

Keywords: Ashland (Ky.); Central Kentucky; Chairman; Court of Appeals; General practice; Kentucky; Law degrees; Legal chair; Lexington (Ky.); Louisville (Ky.); Northern Kentucky; Positions; Tennessee; U.S. Army; University of Kentucky; Vice-chairman

Subjects: Attorney; Business; Childhood; Environmental law; Friend; Korean War, 1950-1953; Law partnership; Life; Logistics; Meetings; Sierra Club

00:13:41 - Red River Gorge

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Partial Transcript: Let's see, right after you joined then the whole Red River Gorge issue broke open.

Segment Synopsis: Geralds elaborates upon his activism regarding the preservation of Red River Gorge from becoming a dam.

Keywords: Bowen (Ky.); Demonstration; Geological area; Glacier National Park; Indian Creek Trail; Kentucky Division of Forestry; Law practice; Limited Liability Company (LLC); Overuse; Problems; Red River Gorge; Red River Gorge Legal Defense Fund; Regulations; U.S. Army Core of Engineers

Subjects: Boy Scouts; Bumper stickers; Dams; Hiking; Maintenance; Protection; Protest and social movements; Publicity

00:19:03 - Wild River Bill and Red River Gorge

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Partial Transcript: But, when we worked on the Wild River Bill...

Segment Synopsis: Geralds describes the various legal obstacles that arose when he and his associates tried to get the Wild Rivers Bill passed on a national level, as well as federal-level protection for Red River Gorge.

Keywords: Advocates; Carl D. Perkins; Congress; Environmental commission; Federal designation; Financial gains; Impractical; Kentucky Wild Rivers Bill; Larry J. Hopkins; Local commission; Ohio; Pork barrel spending; Powell County (Ky.); Public hearings; Recommendations; Red River Gorge; Study; U.S. Forest Service; University of Kentucky; Upper river site; Wendell H. Ford

Subjects: Bureaucracy; Dams; Economics; Legislators; Recreation; Water

00:27:29 - The Nature Conservancy

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Partial Transcript: In your work with the Nature Conservancy, uh, what were some of the things you were involved with?

Segment Synopsis: Geralds considers his participation in The Nature Conservancy, as well as its re-activation in Kentucky.

Keywords: Activation; Chairman; Chapter; Clay City (Ky.); Cumberland Falls; Daniel Boone; Development; Donation; Hickman County (Ky.); Lexington (Ky.); Murphy's Pond; Murray (Ky.); National Parks Service; Pilot Knob State Nature Preserve; Powell County (Ky.); Re-activation; Red River Gorge; The Nature Conservancy; Transylvania University; Vice-chairman

Subjects: Drainage; Friend; Organization; People; Staff; Work

00:34:46 - Thoughts on nature / Nature Preserves Commission and Environmental Quality Commission

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Partial Transcript: Were you als--are you also a hiker and a sportsman?

Segment Synopsis: Geralds begins by discussing his personal opinions on nature. Subsequently, Geralds describes his work on both the Kentucky State Nature Preserves Commission and the Environmental Quality Commission. Lastly, the interviewee chronicles dynamics within each commission, as well as the interactions he had with politicians in Frankfort.

Keywords: Board; Chairman; Department of Natural Resources; Development; Environmental Quality Commission; Forum; Frankfort (Ky.); Funding; Governor; Issues; John Brown; Kentucky State Nature Preserves Commission; Legislator; Members; Outings; Owenton (Ky.); Public media; Scoutmaster; Secretary; Speakers; State government; Wendell H. Ford; Wild Rivers Bill

Subjects: Budget; Environmentalism; Farmer; Hearings; Hiking; Meeting; Nature; Politicians; Sierra Club; Staff; Work

00:44:12 - Efforts since Environmental Quality Commission

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Partial Transcript: Alright, we, we'll pick up with, um, your involvement since the Environmental Quality Commission.

Segment Synopsis: Geralds lists the various projects he has been associated with since his time as a member of the Environmental Quality Commission.

Keywords: Ballard County (Ky.); Calvary Baptist Church; Environmental Quality Commission; Fundraising campaign; Future; Housing project; Kids; Lexington (Ky.); Projects; Red River Gorge; Scout master; Scout troops; State government; Surgeon; Swan Lake; The Nature Conservancy

Subjects: Boy Scouts; Boys; Eagle Scouts; Hiking; Nature; Photographers; Politicians; Sierra Club; Son

00:49:44 - Changes with children and nature

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Partial Transcript: Um, but in g, general if you think of when you were a boy scout, uh, up to now, um, are there changes in the way children, um--what they know about nature...

Segment Synopsis: Geralds assesses the changes in attitude and knowledge of nature that children have undergone from his own generation to the children of the late 1980s.

Keywords: Camping trips; Canoes; Changes; Fragile; Great Lakes; Michigan; Motivations

Subjects: Birds; Boy Scouts; Camping--United States; Chemicals; Children; Environmentalism; Fires; Friend; Hiking; Nature; People; Sewage; Trees

00:53:18 - Trends in environmentalism

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Partial Transcript: Um, I wondered if you see trends, um, among the adults, in terms of environmental, um, attitudes, um, among politicians, as, as well as ordinary people in Kentucky?

Segment Synopsis: Geralds examines the changes to the Environmentalist movement that have occurred in recent years (the 1980s), in both politicians and non-politicians.

Keywords: Adults; Convincing; Environmental Protection Act; Environmental organizations; Executive; Expertise; Issues; Kentucky; Legislatures; Red River Gorge; Regulations; Trends; Trouble

Subjects: Environmental protection; Environmentalism; Environmentalist; Hope; Leaders; Lobbying; Money; Organization; People; Politicians; Popular; Voice