NewEnergyNews-Butterfield Archive

WALL STREET JOURNAL'S Environmental Capital quotes NewEnergyNews:

  • 06/05/2007
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    WALL STREET JOURNAL selects NewEnergyNews as one of the "Blogs We Are Reading" --

  • 05/14/2007
  • 04/16/2007
  • 03/28/2007
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      Anne B. Butterfield of DAILY CAMERA, a biweekly contributor to NewEnergyNews


    • My Novels: OIL IN THEIR BLOOD, The American Decades & OIL IN THEIR BLOOD, The Story of Our Addiction
    • Review of OIL IN THEIR BLOOD, The American Decades by Mark S. Friedman
    • OIL IN THEIR BLOOD, The American Decades, the second volume of Herman K. Trabish’s retelling of oil’s history in fiction, picks up where the first book in the series, OIL IN THEIR BLOOD, The Story of Our Addiction, left off. The new book is an engrossing, informative and entertaining tale of the Roaring 20s, World War II and the Cold War. You don’t have to know anything about the first historical fiction’s adventures set between the Civil War, when oil became a major commodity, and World War I, when it became a vital commodity, to enjoy this new chronicle of the U.S. emergence as a world superpower and a world oil power.
    • As the new book opens, Lefash, a minor character in the first book, witnesses the role Big Oil played in designing the post-Great War world at the Paris Peace Conference of 1919. Unjustly implicated in a murder perpetrated by Big Oil agents, LeFash takes the name Livingstone and flees to the U.S. to clear himself. Livingstone’s quest leads him through Babe Ruth’s New York City and Al Capone’s Chicago into oil boom Oklahoma. Stymied by oil and circumstance, Livingstone marries, has a son and eventually, surprisingly, resolves his grievances with the murderer and with oil.
    • In the new novel’s second episode the oil-and-auto-industry dynasty from the first book re-emerges in the charismatic person of Victoria Wade Bridger, “the woman everybody loved.” Victoria meets Saudi dynasty founder Ibn Saud, spies for the State Department in the Vichy embassy in Washington, D.C., and – for profound and moving personal reasons – accepts a mission into the heart of Nazi-occupied Eastern Europe. Underlying all Victoria’s travels is the struggle between the allies and axis for control of the crucial oil resources that drove World War II.
    • As the Cold War begins, the novel’s third episode recounts the historic 1951 moment when Britain’s MI-6 handed off its operations in Iran to the CIA, marking the end to Britain’s dark manipulations and the beginning of the same work by the CIA. But in Trabish’s telling, the covert overthrow of Mossadeq in favor of the ill-fated Shah becomes a compelling romance and a melodramatic homage to the iconic “Casablanca” of Bogart and Bergman.
    • Monty Livingstone, veteran of an oil field youth, European WWII combat and a star-crossed post-war Berlin affair with a Russian female soldier, comes to 1951 Iran working for a U.S. oil company. He re-encounters his lost Russian love, now a Soviet agent helping prop up Mossadeq and extend Mother Russia’s Iranian oil ambitions. The reunited lovers are caught in a web of political, religious and Cold War forces until oil and power merge to restore the Shah to his future fate. The romance ends satisfyingly, America and the Soviet Union are the only forces left on the world stage and ambiguity is resolved with the answer so many of Trabish’s characters ultimately turn to: Oil.
    • Commenting on a recent National Petroleum Council report calling for government subsidies of the fossil fuels industries, a distinguished scholar said, “It appears that the whole report buys these dubious arguments that the consumer of energy is somehow stupid about energy…” Trabish’s great and important accomplishment is that you cannot read his emotionally engaging and informative tall tales and remain that stupid energy consumer. With our world rushing headlong toward Peak Oil and epic climate change, the OIL IN THEIR BLOOD series is a timely service as well as a consummate literary performance.
    • Oil history journal articles by Dr. Trabish: Oil Stories and Histories
    • Review of OIL IN THEIR BLOOD, The Story of Our Addiction by Mark S. Friedman
    • "...ours is a culture of energy illiterates." (Paul Roberts, THE END OF OIL)
    • OIL IN THEIR BLOOD, a superb new historical fiction by Herman K. Trabish, addresses our energy illiteracy by putting the development of our addiction into a story about real people, giving readers a chance to think about how our addiction happened. Trabish's style is fine, straightforward storytelling and he tells his stories through his characters.
    • The book is the answer an oil family's matriarch gives to an interviewer who asks her to pass judgment on the industry. Like history itself, it is easier to tell stories about the oil industry than to judge it. She and Trabish let readers come to their own conclusions.
    • She begins by telling the story of her parents in post-Civil War western Pennsylvania, when oil became big business. This part of the story is like a John Ford western and its characters are classic American melodramatic heroes, heroines and villains.
    • In Part II, the matriarch tells the tragic story of the second generation and reveals how she came to be part of the tales. We see oil become an international commodity, traded on Wall Street and sought from London to Baku to Mesopotamia to Borneo. A baseball subplot compares the growth of the oil business to the growth of baseball, a fascinating reflection of our current president's personal career.
    • There is an unforgettable image near the center of the story: International oil entrepreneurs talk on a Baku street. This is Trabish at his best, portraying good men doing bad and bad men doing good, all laying plans for wealth and power in the muddy, oily alley of a tiny ancient town in the middle of everywhere. Because Part I was about triumphant American heroes, the tragedy here is entirely unexpected, despite Trabish's repeated allusions to other stories (Casey At The Bat, Hamlet) that do not end well.
    • In the final section, World War I looms. Baseball takes a back seat to early auto racing and oil-fueled modernity explodes. Love struggles with lust. A cavalry troop collides with an army truck. Here, Trabish has more than tragedy in mind. His lonely, confused young protagonist moves through the horrible destruction of the Romanian oilfields only to suffer worse and worse horrors, until--unexpectedly--he finds something, something a reviewer cannot reveal. Finally, the question of oil must be settled, so the oil industry comes back into the story in a way that is beyond good and bad, beyond melodrama and tragedy.
    • Along the way, Trabish gives readers a greater awareness of oil and how we became addicted to it. Awareness, Paul Roberts said in THE END OF OIL, "...may be the first tentative step toward building a more sustainable energy economy. Or it may simply mean that when our energy system does begin to fail, and we begin to lose everything that energy once supplied, we won't be so surprised."
    • Oil history journal articles by Dr. Trabish: Oil Stories and Histories
    • My Photo
      Location: Agua Dulce, CA

      *Doctor with my hands *Author of the "OIL IN THEIR BLOOD" series with my head *Student of New Energy with my heart






      Pay a visit to the HARRY BOYKOFF page at Basketball Reference, sponsored by NewEnergyNews and Oil In Their Blood.

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    • NewEnergyNews


      Even coal is in for a revolution

      Anne B. Butterfield, February 22, 2009

      Even in an uncertain world, you think you know a few things. You know that adjustable rate mortgages are the devil's playground and that a man who is kind to the waitstaff is the right kind to marry. And you know that the United States has two hundred years of coal and we will never be hurting over its price.

      And on that last one, you would be wrong.

      A trained scientist and a true contrarian at heart, boulder's own local activist Leslie Glustrom decided to check out those brave claims about how America is the "Saudi Arabia of coal," made by every politician and coal supporter (as if those two were fully separate), and above all, by the Energy Information Administration. She reported her findings in a paper posted at Clean Energy Action which planners, voters and consumers should see.

      It turns about the EIA has been stating our nation's coal "reserves" strictly in terms of quantity. Jeff Goodell, author of "Big Coal," says this happened because "up (until) 10 years ago or so coal was viewed as a fuel of the past so no one really cared how much we had."

      And the grasshopper said to the ant: Oops I could have done better planning.

      The metric for coal that matters is "economic recoverability." It's the marketplace and not magic that gets the crumbly, heavy, non-liquid black rock of the mines and onto trains for delivery around the nation. And 40 percent of our nation's coal (or 20 percent of our nation's electricity) comes rumbling out of the Powder River Basin in Wyoming starting on one over-subscribed rail corridor.

      Wyoming's coal outperforms the next best producer of West Virginia by a factor of three. About 15 states produce coal, but except for the top four, they all produce less than one-tenth of Wyoming's prowess. West Virginia peaked in production over ten years ago. Kentucky peaked 19 years ago, with its current yield off by a third. Pennsylvania peaked in 1918 and now produces 22 percent of its peak. Ohio peaked in the '60's, now producing less than half what it used to in high-sulfur coal which utilities do not prefer. Illinois produces high sulfur coal at about half the rate of its glory days in the '80's.

      See a trend here? America's coal future depends on Wyoming, but all coals are not equal. Wyoming's sub-bituminous coal means it has less heat quotient than other coals, so more of it needs to be dug, transported and burned to make the electricity that's needed.

      As if that weren't enough, over 70 percent of Wyoming's coal is under more than a 10-to-1 stripping ratio, meaning that 10 tons of rock need to be cleared for every ton of coal. That ratio is unattractive; for every doubling of overburden of rock over the coal, the more staff are needed -- by a factor of five.

      These truths are readily available to thinkers who are willing to look past the EIA for information; Leslie Glustrom's findings are from a coal inventory report drafted by the Departments of Energy, Agriculture and Interior, and most stinging of all from the United States Geological Survey. It says that economic coal reserves of the Wyoming's PRB -- that portion which can be mined, processed, and marketed at a profit -- is 6 percent of the original resource total. That translates to about 20 years left of PRB coal produced and used as we know it, while elsewhere production peaks are leading steadily to valleys.

      Oh but we can import coal from Brazil, some say. We can gasify it and send the electrons over transmission lines from Wyoming. These rescue plans leave the geologic mayhem out of sight and remind us that coal gained its hegemony quietly by hiding in impoverished, distant communities and is burnt on the outskirts of town where the powers plants' tall stacks can more thinly disperse the toxins.

      With half of our power in this nation coming from coal, and here in Colorado up to 88 percent, we should be as alert to coal as we are to the creepy neighbor. If you turned on a light or ate out of a fridge lately, coal's as much a part of your life as your spouse.

      As geologist Alison Burchell points out, this sobering news clarifies our need for efficiency, conservation and long sighted renewable-energy policies. It provides political figures with the cover they need to expedite our long overdue transition to a sustainable future.