Erica Peterson

Environment Reporter

Erica reports on environment and energy issues for WFPL, which run the gamut from stories about the region’s biodiversity to coal mine safety and pollution issues. In the name of journalism, she’s gone spelunking, tagged mussels and taste-tested bourbon. Erica moved to Louisville in June 2011 from Charleston, West Virginia, where she worked for the state’s public radio and television affiliate. Besides Kentucky and West Virginia, she’s lived in New Jersey, Minnesota and Illinois. She lives with her husband in Louisville.

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Environment
7:30 am
Tue July 29, 2014

Policy Group Asks FTC to Review 'Misleading' Green Claims About Biomass

A concrete slab indicates the site of the proposed ecoPower biomass plant in Hazard, Kentucky.
Credit Frankie Steele / Kentucky Center for Investigative Reporting

A policy group is asking the Federal Trade Commission to scrutinize advertising claims by biomass plants that the energy produced is environmentally friendly and “green.”

Biomass energy is produced when wood products are burned in a power plant. There aren’t any large-scale biomass plants in Kentucky yet, but a company called ecoPower is building one in Eastern Kentucky.

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Local News
5:22 pm
Mon July 28, 2014

Metropolitan Sewer District Board OKs 5.5 Percent Rate Increase

Credit Creative Commons/Zepfanman.com

Louisville’s Metropolitan Sewer District board on Monday  approved a 5.5 percent rate increase, which will raise the average customer’s bill by $29 a year. The change is slightly smaller than the 5.8 percent increase ratepayers saw last year.

MSD is about halfway through a 19-year consent decree with the federal government to overhaul the city’s sewer systems and decrease the frequency of sewer overflows.

The new rate goes into effect on Friday.

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Environment
6:45 am
Mon July 28, 2014

Instead of Emailing, Some Kentuckians Choose Traveling 400+ Miles For EPA Public Hearing

Credit Erica Peterson / WFPL

The Environmental Protection Agency will hold hearings this week on proposed regulations to limit the carbon dioxide coal-fired power plants can emit. And environmental activists and coal industry supporters are both traveling from Kentucky to Atlanta this week for the federal hearing.

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Environment
5:22 pm
Thu July 24, 2014

Report Quantifies EPA Rule's Effect on Coal-Producing Regions

Credit Erica Peterson/WFPL

A preliminary analysis of the effects of the EPA’s new greenhouse gas rules on regions of the country suggest some states fighting the regulations—like Texas and Oklahoma—may see economic benefits under the rule.

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Environment
4:18 pm
Wed July 23, 2014

Louisville's Innovation Chief Takes On Added Role With Environmental Non-Profit

Ted Smith
Credit www.whitehouse.gov

  Louisville’s head of economic development will be in charge of a new local non-profit, in addition to some modified Metro duties. In changes announced Wednesday, Ted Smith will remain Louisville’s chief of civic innovation. He'll will also serve as the first executive director for the Institute for Healthy Air, Water and Soil.

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Environment
12:08 pm
Wed July 23, 2014

LG&E Fined Again for Odor Problems at Cane Run Power Plant

Credit Erica Peterson / WFPL

Louisville Gas and Electric has been fined again for issues at the company's Cane Run Power Station. This time, the problem stems from complaints of rotten egg and sulfur odors emanating from the plant in February.

According to the Notice of Violation issued June 26, the Air Pollution Control District has offered to settle the case for $3,000 in fines, plus remedial action.

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Environment
9:43 am
Wed July 23, 2014

Kentucky Wants Your Thoughts In Crafting the Next Master Plan For Environmental Education

Credit Joseph Lord/WFPL News

A meeting today kicks off the process of drafting a new five-year master plan for environmental education in Kentucky.

Every five years since 1999, Kentucky has re-tooled its master plans laying out how environmental education should be taught in the commonwealth. The plan is meant to help educators understand how the environment can be used to teach students across multiple disciplines—not just science, but also subjects like language arts and math.

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Environment
12:53 pm
Tue July 22, 2014

More Coal Layoffs in Eastern Kentucky, But Don't Blame Environmental Regulations

Credit Decumanus / Wikimedia Commons

This week, Arch Coal idled its Cumberland River complex, laying off 213 coal miners. The mining operation spans the border between Letcher County, Ky., and Wise County, Va. 

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Environment
12:39 pm
Mon July 21, 2014

Regulators Predict High Ozone Levels in Louisville Tuesday

Kentucky and Indiana regulators have issued the first air quality alert of 2014 for the region. They’re predicting elevated levels of ozone Tuesday. The Air Quality Index is forecast to be 105, which is unhealthy for sensitive groups. 

These sensitive groups include the elderly, the young, and anyone with heart or lung ailments. On bad air days, Louisville residents should avoid idling vehicles, share rides, delay mowing lawns or getting gas and try to combine errands to help improve the air quality.

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Environment
9:47 am
Mon July 21, 2014

New Carbon Capture System at Kentucky Plant Could Be 'Game-Changer'

Credit Erica Peterson/WFPL

Kentucky has long been known for coal. But a new project unveiled today has the potential to let the commonwealth also be known for coal technology.

A bevy of scientists and elected officials are in Harrodsburg this morning to cut the ribbon on a new carbon capture pilot project. The project was developed by scientists at the University of Kentucky’s Center for Applied Energy Research, and is being installed at Kentucky Utilities’ E.W. Brown power plant.

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