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


      Colorado's Elegant Solution to Fracking

      Colorado's Elegant Solution to Fracking Anne B. Butterfield, April 19, 2012 (Huffington Post)

      Eventually those local moratoriums against fracking will expire in Boulder, Longmont and Erie. And residents will worry anew about toxic fracking operations inching up on schools and neighborhoods in pursuit of a product that goes "poof" the instant it's used. Nice value ~ not.

      And it's timely that the University of Colorado at Denver School of Public Health just announced a study which finds that air pollution within a half mile of frack-ops have toxic emissions five times over federal safety standards, causing elevated life time cancer risks and respiratory and neurological effects for nearby residents. Rep. Diana DeGette is now urging the Environmental Protection Agency to consider Colorado's study as they finalize air standards for fracking.

      It has also just come out that fracking is inching up on agriculture to compete for Colorado's water. Taking only .08 of a percent per year, it's a smidge for sure, but that water gets so polluted it must be disposed in a way that removes it from the hydrologic cycle. And that's not pretty when we're looking down the craw of a new drought kicked off with an historic climate change induced heat wave plus a horrifying wildfire this season.

      Permanently voiding precious Colorado water out of the hydrologic cycle feels even worse in view the fact such water can be lost for naught when the depletion rate on fracking wells is 63-85 percent in the first year, according to Dave Hughes of the Geological Survey of Canada. This can mean fruitless water waste when drilling down the slippery slope of diminishing marginal returns.

      But Colorado will need all the more gas, as the Clean Air Clean Jobs Act requires Xcel Eenrgy in Colorado to soon retire 900 megawatts of coal burning capacity. The act also requires that the natural gas used for recouping that coal-fired capacity comes from in state (see page 18 here). That puts upward pressure on fracking all over the state. This means more tangles between fracking and populated areas, and more permanent loss of precious Colorado water. It seems like Colorado may have backed itself into a box canyon, where residents are cornered with fracking risks to land, air, water and health.

      But there's an elegant pathway to reducing Colorado's need for natural gas -- by using the sun in a familiar technology that is at least two times more efficient than solar photovoltaics. It's good old fashioned solar thermal - those rooftop panels that heat water.

      Colorado could amend the CACJA to promote solar thermal as a jobs intensive domestic energy supply that works with natural gas to heat homes, buildings, water and industrial processes. This could free drilling companies to sell excess Colorado gas out of state for much higher prices (see page 8 here), possibly gaining crucial industry support for this intrusion of renewables into their market. Higher profitability, less contentious drilling and more renewable energy jobs is the hope.

      In all of North American, Colorado is "ground zero" for the best conditions for producing huge benefits from solar thermal. It's the sunshine, cold ground water, high heating loads, renewables-savvy population and existing industry that can, if the state takes on robust targets, lead the nation in an industry that swaps jobs and skills in place of burning money. And burning money is what we do when we burn costly fuels that go poof the instant they're used.

      A robust Colorado plan for solar thermal could put the clean air and clean jobs back into the so-called, gas-friendly Clean Air Clean Jobs Act.

      And in case anyone has forgotten ~ there are huge economic risks with shale gas, a.k.a. the fracking boom, as the resource is almost certainly not as profitable, resourceful or as clean as hyped by industry. On deeper review, it's promising to be an economic bubble.

      Fracking is supposedly going to make our nation 100 years of cheap gas, as, amnesiac members of Congress and the President are wont to say. But various geological experts such as the Potential Gas Committe have poured cold water all over that flaming hype, detailing how the supply could be as little as 21 or even 11 years. And Arthur Berman, a widely regarded petro-geologist has commented that the industry reminds him of the sub prime mortgage mess and wrote, "U.S. shale plays share many characteristics with the gold rushes.... Both phenomena result from extreme promotion. Anyone can join. Every participant believes that they will get rich. Great amounts of capital are destroyed as entrants try to get a position. The bonanza is exhausted sooner than most expected and few profit in the end."

      So if you are one of the thousands of Coloradans who are waking up to the nightmare of fracking in your community - go online and read the Colorado Solar Thermal Roadmap. Then find every political leader you can to talk about it. Colorado would be wise to use its natural solar resources to hedge against an over-reliance on gas, one that shall expand as the CACJA requires. And coal with its rising prices is on the wane nationwide as well, which means the demand for gas will be a pressure cooker loaded with risk for our energy security, economy, and environment.