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


      The first rule of holes - Stop digging

      Anne B. Butterfield, November 22, 2009 (NewEnergyNews)

      "The supply of cheap coal is no longer abundant. Seventy percent of Colorado`s electricity comes from coal plants and that is too much today, and over time it will become an impediment to economic growth." - Tom Sanzillo.

      Most experienced investors know that the way to invest safely is through a diversified portfolio of stocks picked across a variety of market sectors, with options to keep money in cash, bonds, metals or land. That`s diversity. It spreads the risk and allows flexibility to respond to changing market conditions.

      If any stockbroker saw that your portfolio on which you will utterly depend in the future, were 70 percent in one sector, that would be the fist thing he would tell you to change. Too much exposure. Too risky. Too rigid.

      Now look at Colorado`s power generation: it comes 70 percent from one fuel type: coal, a fuel source documented by the United States Geological Survey, plus the Departments of Energy, Agriculture and Interior, have all estimated our days of cheap coal ending in as little as two decades.

      In Colorado, vaunted as a "coal state" by so many politicians, production of the black rock peaked in 2004 and fell off about one-fifth in four years, according to the Energy Information Administration. On top of that, documents from Xcel Energy show that four mines in Colorado entered "force majeure" status in the past eighteen months meaning they were hampered by exogenous difficulties that freed them from contractual obligations.

      The coal situation is a sword of Damocles over Colorado`s prosperity, particularly because when XcelEnergy fires up its new 750 megawatt coal plant soon in Pueblo, it will increase the utility`s coal burn by 25 percent on coal brought in from Wyoming. That means exporting our dollars on fuel we don`t need.

      Sending our fuel dollars out of state adds insult to the basic injury of our largest utility increasing its basic rates on people already being disconnected at 5,000 per month, plus passing on coal costs that are will jump by 25 percent this year, both in cost and volume.

      Up at our northern fuel source, Wyoming`s Powder River Basin is now producing 40 percent of our nation`s coal from mines that mostly have life spans of less than twenty years. The PRB`s future mine sites shall be much deeper underground than today`s mines, that means escalating costs. Generally all other states producing coal have gotten past their peak production.

      "What`s not understood is how expensive it`s going to be to get that coal out of the ground," says Tom Sanzillo, the former acting Comptroller of the State of New York who was responsible for his state`s pension plans, some of the nation`s largest. He made it his calling after retirement to examine the investment case for coal fired power and he now he gives testimony to numerous states` governments. His testimony is that investing in coal power generation in general, and in Colorado in particular, is a sinking ship.

      Sanzillo has seen a side of the coal industry that occasionally burps out truth. Attending the World Coal Conference in London in late October, he saw coal executives respond to mini instant polls in which they used hand clickers to vote anonymously. To one question "Do you believe coal reserve assessments to be accurate?" their answer was "No" -- to the tune of 89 percent.

      No one is thinking that coal reserves are underestimated, but no one in the business is discussing the problem aloud, either. Sanzillo explains: "It takes a while for people to wrap their heads around this knowledge which means decades of common wisdom being overturned."

      And here we are, increasing instead of reducing Colorado`s 70 percent coal profile while the climate bill coming out of the U.S. Congress proposes to intensify our nation`s investment in coal through carbon capture and storage schemes.

      That`s sending good money after bad. You don`t invest in a costly, unproven infrastructure to service a fuel source that is fast depleting anymore than you put fancy improvements onto a house that`s been claimed by eminent domain.

      Fortunately this week, twenty Colorado state lawmakers asked the U.S. Senate to limit funding for coal and nuclear energy in the energy bill so as not to prevent diversification into efficiency, wind and solar, which even Xcel`s own projections have shown can pay off in savings in as little as four years.