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


      Just Say No to Xcess Energy

      Anne B Butterfield, April 28, 2009

      We’re grown ups, right? So do we sit by idly when a car speeds the wrong way onto the freeway? No. We grab that cell phone and call the authorities.

      The car now racing against the flow of history is Xcel Energy, ramping up their legalistic stonewalling to force Coloradoans to pay for their new billion dollar 750 megawatt, unneeded, coal-fired power plant in Pueblo called Comanche 3, to be paid through a series of rate hikes.

      The first proposed rate hike of 5% was tentatively and privately settled last week to start being charged to us this July for a plant that fires up in November. It doesn’t matter if you buy all WindSource; it’s in the basic service.

      But there’s more: the coal costs will get passed straight through as an extra "ECA" charge. Remember, the United States Geological Survey and other federal agencies have stated that America's supply of cheap coal will last as little as 20 years, and this year the spot price of coal doubled. So we can expect volatility and not price comfort from coal.

      Before coal prices can maim our economy though, Comanche 3 will lure big office buildings and more to continue wasting energy by staying lit up at 4 am on a Saturday or 8pm on Easter. Don’t you want to pay more, and add 130 pounds of mercury to the world each year, so we can light up outer space?

      Comanche 3 is estimated to cost a billion dollars per decade to run, with most of that cash going to Wyoming for the coal, Minnesota for Xcel’s executive compensation, and Washington DC for the carbon costs when they kick in. We could use that money instead to reap power from wind, solar and demand reduction to the point where Colorado could export clean energy to other states, but no, we’re being saddled up to export oodles of cash.

      Yeah that’s dumb in a state crimped by TABOR, and you haven’t heard the best part yet:

      Even by Xcel's documentation, for the first several years Comanche 3 will provide many hundreds of megawatts of excess capacity over the 16% safety margin required by law. Xcel announced in March that with the shrunken economy and efficiency measures power demand will drop by nearly 500 megawatts until 2015, and thus Xcel will delay acquisitions of 900 megawatts of solar and wind.

      More effectively, Xcel just proved that we don’t need Comanche 3.

      To add emphasis to the excess, the Chairman of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, Jon Wellinghoff, has boldly stated that new coal and nuclear base load plants are unneeded generally, and that the craze for rigid base load power is a sacred cow that will be beat out by the flexibility of efficiency and renewable power.

      So far, our appointed representatives in Colorado have been lifting compromise with Xcel to a sacramental art, allowing Xcel to argue in motions language that is often incoherent that the 2003 permit to build the plant should have “closure” and never be subjected to evidence of its imprudence. Xcel has even argued that in spite of rules to the contrary, evidence brought by scores of savvy ratepayers at a Public Utilities Commission hearing last week should be stricken from the record.

      All of this gives such a warm feeling, don’t you want Boulder to renew their franchise agreement with Xcel?

      Governor Ritter has ventured to say that Comanche 3 is not Xcel’s best choice. But we put him into office for his New Energy Economy -- and part of that means saying no to a power plant that runs on rocks while exporting our wealth.

      It’s not unheard of to stand up to a company saying, “Your venture is a mistake and we’re not adding a penny to its operation.” It’s the same courage mustered by the bride who’s paid dearly for a lavish wedding only to cancel because her groom resumed his addictive and risky ways.

      It’s sad but it’s what real grown ups do. They make tough calls when terrific plans are proven to bring costly peril. The least Xcel could do, and the Governor should demand, is to delay the start of Comanche 3 and its rate hikes until many of Xcel's small coal plants have be retired, as they plan to do in the next few years.

      People can alert the Governor of their concerns about Comanche 3 by calling his office at 303-866-2471