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


      Hiding in plain sight: the guilt over our nation's management of coal ash waste

      Hiding in plain sight: the guilt over our nation's management of coal ash waste
      Anne B. Butterfield, January 11, 2009 (NewEnergyNews)

      As the nation wakes in a groggy haze in response to the coal ash spill at the Kingston plant in Tennessee, we slowly learn that it's not just the avalanche of coal ash pouncing on the unlucky that should hold our attention; it's also the ash-based heavy metals leaching quietly into ground and surface waters, at up to 70 sites over our nation, that call us to horror and action.

      “The regulation of coal ash waste, known to be laden with toxins such as arsenic, chromium and more, has fallen through the cracks. In 2000 the Environmental Protection Agency leaned toward a moderate but helpful standard for regulation calling it ‘contingent hazardous waste.’ The EPA lurched back in response to industry attack that came because the waste can in some uses do real benefit and make real profit as a construction material. Now the states take care of all the regulation.”

      Many state officials and the utility professionals which share in the "policing" of waste management have adopted a laissez-faire attitude that's laced with psychological denial, stupidity and even criminality.

      All over our country, but especially in the Midwest and Southeast, coal ash is being dumped into open pits and quarries, unlined, often right at the water table. To save costs, coal ash is stored wet in above-ground impoundments allowing toxins greater leach effect. Many hazards have come from this shoddy and short-sighted stewardship.

      The surface impoundment at Kingston was given jury-rig repairs when its earthen dam leaked in recent months and years, rather than being overhauled into dry landfill at greater expense. That expense would be less than a tenth the cost of the eventual catastrophic spill.

      Jeff Stant, a noted geologist who's been tracking coal ash for years, has reported that officials in Montana purposefully choose wet storage for their coal ash knowing it would contaminate groundwater. They decided they would pipe in city water once residents got sick or complained.

      Utility executives in Indiana tested water near an ash waste site near Town of the Pines in which the ash was mingling with the water table, They knew that water was toxic and filed the reports, but the state ignored the reports. The guilt was hiding in plain sight. Company memos revealed executives discussing how to conceal toxicity from residents.

      The leach effect in nature can be orders of magnitude worse in nature than in the lab.

      Zoologist Donald Cherry from Virginia Tech studied the interaction of coal ash on aquatic environments of three types in twenty states and found pollutants in groundwaters at hundreds and even thousands of times EPA's maximums. Even small amounts of selenium (10 mg per liter) can bio-accumulate up the food chain with fish species in Belews Lake in North Carolina dying off -- with the remaining survivors being either sterile or swimming along with S-shaped spines.

      Here in Colorado, the Department of Public Health and Environment has been getting calls from all over the nation about our standards for coal ash storage, probably due to our state's reputation. Reports on the state's standards are hard to find on the Web and an investigation of Colorado's authority structure and standards for clean management of coal ash waste is in order.

      We in Boulder can be pleased that our local plant, Valmont, stores its coal ash waste on site, dry, compacted into a glassy surface, and for the most part up to 60 feet above water level of nearby Legget Lake. A portion of the ash in the 45-acre landfill is very close to water level. The landfill is on top of a hard rock strata known as Pierre Shale, which likely protects deep groundwater but not Legget Lake itself. Xcel is responsible to test the runoff from the ash landfill.

      The collapse of the Kingston ash impoundment is to coal ash management what the collapse of Lehman Brothers was to the era of the unfettered free markets. Sound federal regulation has been missing for too long. The party is over.