These interviews are most useful for understanding public/private partnerships in utilities markets, especially electrical power and emerging commercial satellite communications. In the realm of environmental regulation, policies under the purview of the Department of Interior such as mining and mine safety, forest management and fire responses, and the use of federal lands and resources to generate and transmit electrical power garner the most attention. Rural electrification and the structure of power “wheeling” agreements in the west receive much discussion.
Researchers interested in the regulation of the communications industries will also find interviews of interest. Some interviews provide extensive discussion of the FCC, the State Department and the development of the Communications Satellite Corporation (COMSAT) to provide and regulate multinational commercial satellite communications, as well as the development and regulation of cable television.
Other interviews examine the workings of the Federal Trade Commission and the role of the Council of Economic Advisors is shaping economic policy during the Kennedy Administration.
Project description: This project was established by the Oral History program of North Texas State University in 1966, and it was still ongoing in 1985. The program appears to be discontinued now and the interviews absorbed into the broader UNT oral history program archives.
Regulatory significance: The project interviewed legislators and other state government officials, including regulatory board and commission members. Interviews occurred every two years, at the close of biennial legislative sessions and topics ranged across the spectrum of policy issues encountered during the session. (For a detailed description of project history and methodology, see Ronald E. Marcello, “Interviewing Contemporary Texas Legislators: An Atypical Approach,” The Public Historian 7:4 (Fall 1985): 53-64.)
Project description: Interviews in the California Water Resource Development project were conducted to “document historical developments in California’s water resources” with a focus on planning, administration, and policy making. Water for LA interviews are part of the broader California project, but address issues specific to the Los Angeles area and are presented separately on the UCLA website.
Project description: These 44 interviews involve people on all sides of a controversy in western Minnesota over the routing of power lines. Per the finding aide, “the controversy escalated as costs of the project rose and additional frustration was created by cumbersome review processes, and by what many protesters saw as excessive concern by the federal and state governments for wildlife areas and highway right of way at the expense of protection for productive farmland.”
Regulatory significance: This project effectively captures a kaleidoscope of views over what tradeoffs regulators should make. Interviewees include politicians, regulators at the Department of Natural Resources, affected farmers, and board members of the electric cooperatives.