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


      Wagons firmly circled: Governance at REA’s and Tri-State

      Anne B Butterfield, March 26, 2009

      We don’t go around trying to restrict people’s autonomy do we? The inner libertarian balks at that. So why should Coloradoans support the Public Utility Commission in its quest to extend its regulatory reach to that big rural electrical company known as Tri-State?

      The PUC is taking comments until April 6th on whether it should regulate the resource plans of Tri-State and any rural electric co-op directly involved in power generation. Tri-State is a wholesale power and transmission company which produces 75% of its power from coal plants and owns interest in a few coal mines. It is owned in turn by 44 rural electric associations, many of whose leaders like to smear renewable energy and efficiency. Tri State and the REAs are not regulated because of their supposedly democratic governance, being owned by their members.

      The problem is that owner-members mostly don’t understand their status and don’t get involved in governance, allowing board members to grab plenty of power. Nationwide, REA governance is so bad that Rep. Jim Cooper (D-TN) wrote “Electric Co-operatives: from New Deal to Bad Deal?” On our neighbors here in the Front Range, Poudre Valley Rural Electric Association and Intermountain Rural Electric Association, here are a few stories.

      The board of IREA spent $100,000 of member money to support the anti-global warming propaganda of Dr. Patrick Michaels, a professor of climate science at the University of Virginia. One-sided propaganda is richly provided on the co-op’s website and is always mailed to IREA members even though about half of them voted in favor of Amendment 37, Colorado’s renewable energy standard. The board also addresses its members as member-consumers, as if to de-emphasize their role as owners. The board doesn’t seem intent on honoring the members’ values and status, does it?

      In its coup de grace of over reach, the IREA board in 2006 quietly committed $366 million of member money to a one-quarter share of the new Pueblo coal fired power plant known as Comanche 3, which will put the membership at risk if carbon costs get legislated. This move was such a shock to some members that they invented an advocacy group called IREA Voices; the utility tried to intimidate them with a cease and desist letter for using the term IREA.

      Member-owners who wish to explore IREA’s governance can be met with a wall of opacity. Neil Priester of IREA Voices says that at annual meetings the board members don’t wear nametags and they sit up front with their backs turned to the audience. When he approached one of them, the board member said he was simply not interested in meeting with him.

      PVREA is another fast growing co-op in the state, its membership having nearly doubled in 15 years. So it’s with alarm that its members should greet the new Articles of Incorporation which propose allowing the board to reduce its minimum number of members from eleven down to seven. This notion arrived in the mail this month without comment in a teeny change hidden nicely in several dozen mark-ups in a five-page, single-spaced document. Some think it’s a strategy to close down the diversity of the board just when the membership is at its largest, most diverse, and closest-ever to voting in new blood.

      The president of PVREA’s Board, Keith Croonquist, has insisted that the small board option is for cost reduction. (Board members are paid about $20,000 each year.) How ironic it is for him to mention costs, since the PVREA board has spent up to $177,000 on an annual member shindig with live bands, paid speakers and lavish meals – and ballots mailed out only when specifically requested. This last foible was corrected at the request of a “new blood” candidate Steve Szabo who has been keeping PVREA on its toes.

      The members of IREA and PVREA should resolve their governance issues by voting new blood into their boards in elections this month. With diversity, issues actually get debated rather than rubberstamped with the power of incumbency. As for the rest of us, let’s recall that the increasing coal emissions of our REA neighbors are indeed our business because they waft into our lungs, food supply and our children’s future. There is no reason for REAs to go on operating as de facto unregulated monopolies trying to hide behind filmy skirts of democracy.

      Please write to the PUC by April 6th at; the docket number is 09i-041e.