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


      It takes a Governor

      Anne B Butterfield, May 24, 2009

      When a public official offers a public opinion ostensibly as a private citizen, his view should be subjected to a special smell test. And when the Deputy Director of the Governor's Energy Office Seth Portner took aim at Boulder’s desire to retire the coal portion of the local power plant called Valmont ("Tilting at power plants" Daily Camera May 9) his writing gave a whiff that was disturbingly off-base.

      Portner asserted that coal emissions could be deeply reduced by customers’ vigorous household efficiency efforts, the way that SUV factories got shuttered when people stopped buying SUV’s.

      Hello? If lower demand affected utilities, the two gas-fired turbines at Fort St. Vrain and the coal fired plant called Comanche 3 would never have been built because they are excess and expensive capacity. (And the only thing shuttering SUV plants is the lack of car loans and bailouts.)

      Let’s be clear: every American household needs to trim its energy use to the admirable extent of Portner’s personal example, and doing so, our economy would flourish from fuel savings and job creation. Efficiency is the least cost energy and the fastest emission reduction plan, no contest.

      But even if most of Boulder’s buildings reached Portner’s level of efficiency, his curiously unnamed utility might not quickly respond by shutting down coal plants, since that utility is bringing another large coal plant on line now, because utilities get paid for their asset base.

      So our predicament is not about choosing either efficiency or political force to shut down coal plants, this is a time for both-and.

      Far from being “quixotic” as described by Portner, shutting down coal plants (or hybridizing them) is a part of utility planning in today’s world. In 2012, Xcel will shut down 229 megawatts of older coal capacity as indicated in its resource plan, and even China has begun requiring power companies to retire an older, more polluting power plant for each new one they build. But in Colorado’s New Energy Economy we are not doing even as well as China, because our shut-down rate of old coal is knocked out by the ramp-up rate of new coal in Xcel’s 500 MW portion of Comanche 3.

      Therefore if Boulder can convert Valmont with clean generation plus organized efficiency we should do it, because Xcel is expanding its coal and gas capacity in excess of the 16% reserve margin, and exposing us to fuel and carbon costs.

      Rather than alluding to these issues, Portner’s essay painted Xcel into a corporate fairy tale with Exxon, where both vendors could not exist without consumers. Really? Tell that to the city planners who want a trolley line in their city but Standard Oil, predecessor to Exxon, joined with other companies to buy out 88 percent of our nation’s trolley lines, tore up all the tracks and resold the franchises as bus lines, resulting in anti trust violations and whopping fines of $5,000.

      With smelly, noisy buses making suburbs and cars more attractive, we are now stuck in auto-addled suburbia, often overweight. So while it’s true that Americans are wasteful, none of us wanted our efficient systems to be switched out with wasteful ones by companies that grew to obviate our local powers.

      It takes a corporation to do that.

      Xcel does much more than meet our voracious needs, it shapes them by controlling information and crowding around our legislators. Ask Nancy La Placa, who was lobbying Colorado legislators to support a bill to put fuel mix disclosure on utility bills so that consumers could be more conscious and less voracious. She was brow beaten for it so rudely by a senior Xcel lobbyist that she documented the abuse with CEO Dick Kelley. Xcel doesn’t want customers being conscious of their fuel mix because to do so might trim the use of those fuels in which the company has the most equity for rate-basing.

      With monopolies, markets are not free. And if legislators and regulators were able to protect the market and the public interest, Nancy’s bill would have passed by now. We need more political force.

      It takes a Governor.

      Insulating and sealing our buildings is necessary, but not sufficient. We need larger goals, like getting complete and functional transparency from our utility and reducing the coal burning capacity in Colorado.

      For that, it takes a Governor.

      And it is going to take all of Boulder's efforts, too.