NewEnergyNews-Butterfield Archive

WALL STREET JOURNAL'S Environmental Capital quotes NewEnergyNews:

  • 06/05/2007
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  • 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


      Will Gusher Trauma Lead Us to National Energy Goals?

      Anne B. Butterfield, June 12, 2010

      As the gusher in the Gulf continues to traumatize the nation, the 20,000 attendees at this year's largest wind energy conference called WINDPOWER just held in Dallas, felt anguish about the need for national renewable energy standard (RES).

      The industry is experiencing a drop in the construction of wind projects (from last year's record breaking strides). This will bring direct job losses and thin the arrival of new components makers. Industry and its allies are calling for a national RES, as well as and enduring production tax credit and streamlined rules for transmission, to support a robust American wind industry that will shield rate payers from fuel price spikes as well as power plug-in vehicles to offset our oil dependence now running amok in the Gulf.

      Yes, even in Texas, home to some the nation's richest history for oil drilling, Pat Wood, former Chairman of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission and member of the National Petroleum Council, admitted that the longer the gusher goes, the greater the chance that tax credits to big oil will get plugged.

      And that means the nation is getting ready to embrace big change.

      Addressing a packed arena, Senator Byron Dorgan of North Dakota described a double standard in energy policy: over a century of tax credits have been there for oil and gas development, with awesome success as the result, while the production tax credit for wind has proceeded with a stutter step.

      The attitude was, in Dorgan's words, "Real men dig and drill, and you dreamers with wind and solar, you get a pat on the head." Instead of capricious approval, Dorgan called for national goals of at least 20% renewable energy by 2025.

      Dorgan emphasized that this nation needs a plan, a goal.

      Oh right -- goals! Those things that keep you from being swept into others' agendas! And for lack of them, here we are, the most powerful nation in history kneeling to big corporations deemed to be "persons" and feudal societies made into tough guys by their oil exports.

      We are bent prone over the proverbial barrel of oil. And the Bush-Cheney Administration, with their unending talk about "liberty," helped to put us in this fix. Ironically, WINDPOWER's keynote speaker was none other than former president George W. Bush, invited due to his being the governor who signed Texas' RES that has led that state to be the world's sixth largest producer of wind power. To him our number one threat was not our own runaway consumption of fossil fuels but those "evil doers" around the world, as if they weren't funded by our vast oil consumption. Nor did he mention Dick Cheney who, according to Robert F Kennedy Jr., reconfigured Minerals Management Service in 2003 to where it no longer required the low-cost acoustical switches on deep sea drilling rigs that are required in other deep sea drilling nations like Brazil and Norway. And the lack of that switch had everything to do with our southern shores being invaded by a toxic substance.

      With friends like Dick Cheney in our government, who needs enemies like bin Laden?
      To get out of this humiliation, we need to adopt a pioneering spirit that sees our vast landscapes at home as something to be mapped with new purpose. And that means committing to large scale renewable power as well as transmission lines, another theme of the conference.

      The nation needs a stout network of high voltage power lines to connect its rich sun and wind energy resources to population centers. But according to Dorgan, since 2000 our nation has sited up to 11,000 miles of natural gas pipeline but only 668 miles of high voltage transmission. The asymmetry is due to the lack of durable clean energy policies which would firm up investor commitments on projects... and then there's a teeny problem with people not liking transmission lines, even though they are necessary for a sound grid carrying energy of any type.

      Colorado, with its high renewable energy standard of 30 percent by 2030, is one of many areas facing the tension between building transmission and reaching a real goal for clean energy. And at the conference, Governor Ritter admitted that transmission could impact our progress toward our goal.

      In Colorado, two major arteries for routing clean energy to the Front Range seem to be stalled. On one transmission project tapping wind from southeast Wyoming, Xcel Energy chose to reject 1000 megawatts of proposals, preferring the wind of the eastern edge of Colorado for its trait of blowing more during the day. Xcel's choice is not wholly objectionable as Colorado is already sending enough energy dollars out to of state, by way of our unreasonable coal commitments.

      However, the wind transmission line needs to get built, particularly as another Xcel transmission project(shared with Tri-State) is also blocked. A 235 kilovolt line to connect the rich concentrating solar power potential of the San Luis Valley is hung up by some land holders, and one ranch is so big it envelopes three fourteeners. The rancher has reasonable objections, but the utilities' aims are quite advantageous for Colorado, and the commissioners of all related counties also favor the line as proposed by Xcel.

      Ritter nonetheless expressed confidence that Colorado could reach its renewable energy goals in spite of these transmission standoffs. That's a lot of confidence, and his view deserves scrutiny. But his bold faith is important, and he brought it to Congress to testify for the value of a national RES, with his conviction that clean tech is the sector in Colorado's economy that's done best through the recent downturn. Twenty-six states have joined Ritter to tell Congress of the need for an RES; this is a battle plan to save jobs and build more jobs, as the group is joined by Governor Strickland of Ohio, the coal reliant industrial giant. That's a bellwether.

      But for the moment, our nation's thoughts are transfixed on a hole at the bottom of the ocean and the Bush Administration's regulatory fiasco, which helped BP, in its greed, to blow open this volcano of oil. Too much of our energy policy is like that hole -- gushing with risk. We need to look skyward for our energy sources, and set high national goals. Ask your Senator for an RES now.