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


      Sunlight, greenery and electric co-ops

      Anne B. Butterfield

      This decade is the warmest on record, and all that warmth can pull all the more moisture from the seas to dump it on our nation’s capital, as if trying to deliver a message.

      The climate has spoken but skeptics have misunderstood. But also the burgeoning clean energy industry in China should also strike us as an emergency.

      At a recent Rotary meeting in Boulder, Alice Madden, Climate Change Advisor of the Governor’s Office, said last week, “While the United States dithers debating the existence of climate change, the Chinese are investing nine billion dollars per month and have surpassed the States in patents -- imagine a world where the Chinese own all of our debt and all emerging technologies.” Pretty horrifying.

      Fortunately, a bill to assure that Colorado’s largest utility will produce 30 percent of its power from renewables by 2020 was firmly supported by Xcel Energy’s Paula Connelly this week in a senate committee. Also the retirement of two small coal plants in Xcel’s portfolio are slated for closure; however the closure of the big kahuna –- Cherokee at 717 megawatts -- keeps being mentioned furtively, the way the fattest, beautifullest carp in the pond comes to surface from time to time. Let’s hope the high level rumors come true.

      Back in DC, senators received calls by the thousands this week to urge them to power ahead for a comprehensive climate and clean energy bill. The seas are choppy, but all engines are “go”.

      However, among Colorado’s electric co-op’s (REA’s), a culture of business-as-usual has become so calcified as to attract legislative attention. The governance in the REA’s concerns us for putting a drag on the national effort to get competitive on the use and manufacturing of technologies for producing clean domestic power. Colorado’s REA’s only need to meet a standard of 10 percent renewables by 2020, and many REA ratepayers would like to pick up the pace.

      Representative Claire’s Levy has written a bill for transparency in governance (HB 1098) which spells out election procedures to open up a culture of incumbency among the REA boards. It would require REA’s to publicize the dates of elections and deadlines for entering the race, place candidates’ names randomly on ballots, disclose employee contributions to campaigns, and prohibit the use of co-op money to back any particular candidate. The bill is successfully moving through the legislature.

      Mona Neely, publisher of the co-op publication Colorado Country Life has claimed that the bill is an attempt to muzzle co-ops so they can be taken over by a group with “a different agenda,” and asks, “why would you keep those who actually know what’s going on inside the co-op from speaking out?”

      Methinks she swaps the interests of the co-op with that of the incumbent leadership. Transparency should be an utmost concern even if that means (gasp) losing out to duly elected directors who can provide new direction.

      Our neighbors to the north, Poudre Valley REA, has been running regular small newspaper ads all year about their green credentials, having won an award from the Governor’s Energy Office. However, this expense of ratepayer money is hard to cipher since such material could be stuffed into monthly utility bills. Tellingly, the ads have increased to now half page in size in the run-up to the election for board of directors on the 27th of this month. A healthy skeptic might say that the co-op is telling voters (and newspaper editors) to support the incumbents.

      That celebrated green REA has gotten up to one percent renewable power generation, with solar panels on 40 rooftop across their service area, according to Mark Daily of PVREA.

      Most concerning, Colorado’s REAs have an imbedded commitment to coal, with long term contracts with Tri-State Generation and Transmission which has been financing the Sunflower coal fired plants in Kansas, a multiphase project that has defaulted several times to the federal Rural Utilities Service. It’s a long range money sink to reckless management and a depleting and dangerous fuel.

      And how did the defaults of the Sunflower plants come to light? Through the perusal of 10,000 pages of legal documents by some hard nosed environmentalists.

      When PVREA customers learn about Tri State’s effort to build three new coal plants, they are almost unanimously surprised and opposed, says Jan Petersen, candidate for the board at PVREA. His view is that REA’s need to stop acting “like middle management that implements Tri-State’s edicts” and go back to their roots of being face-to-face democratic and grassroots organizations. The sunlight that comes with diversity is a pretty great thing, too.