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 and son in Louisville.

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Environment
2:53 pm
Thu November 20, 2014

Study: Air Pollution May Contribute to Obesity

Credit Creative Commons

Science has long known that air pollution from cigarette smoke and vehicle exhaust is linked to poor health outcomes, like heart disease and asthma. But recent study findings suggest exposure to air pollution may be contributing to obesity, too.

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Environment
4:42 pm
Tue November 18, 2014

Telling Stories About Louisville's Air Quality Through Art

Credit Wikimedia Commons

A new project in Louisville aims to translate environmental data into information that residents can understand and use. It will create and install air quality sensors throughout the city, then incorporate the data from those monitors in a piece of public art.

Puneet Kishor is the manager of science and data policy for the San Francisco-based Creative Commons.

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Environment
7:00 am
Tue November 18, 2014

Louisville Is Recycling Fewer Batteries—But Does It Matter?

Credit Erica Peterson / WFPL

American landfills are full of trash that could be recycled or reused—things like bottles, paper, clothes and electronics. For some things, the benefits of recycling are obvious.

But for others, it’s murkier. That's the case with batteries.

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Environment
4:10 pm
Mon November 17, 2014

Groups Again Allege Kentucky Mining Company Falsified Pollution Records

A surface mine in Eastern Kentucky.
Credit Gabe Bullard / WFPL

Citizen environmental groups say they plan to sue a Kentucky coal company for once again falsifying pollution reports.

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Environment
1:00 pm
Fri November 14, 2014

Gainesville, Florida, Won't Buy Appalachian Mountaintop Coal Anymore

Credit Gabe Bullard / WFPL

The city of Gainesville, Florida, won’t be buying its coal from Appalachian mountaintop removal operations anymore, and the head of a national environmental non-profit says the model could be applied in other places, too.

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Environment
7:18 pm
Thu November 13, 2014

Ex-Massey CEO Indicted for Role in 2010 West Virginia Mine Explosion

Credit Brianhayden1980 / Wikimedia Commons

Massey Energy CEO Don Blankenship has been indicted by the federal government for his role in a 2010 coal mine disaster.

Blankenship was at the helm of Massey when the Upper Big Branch Mine in West Virginia exploded four years ago, killing 29 coal miners.

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Environment
7:01 am
Thu November 13, 2014

NPR Investigation Finds Links Between Mine Safety, Delinquent Fines

Credit Decumanus / Wikimedia Commons

Under federal mine safety laws, inspectors visit mines, write citations for violations and levy fines. But while many mines follow the law, a small percentage have years of outstanding penalties totaling more than $70 million. And as NPR investigative correspondent Howard Berkes found out, working at those delinquent mines is more dangerous for miners than working for a company that pays its fines.

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Environment
7:00 am
Thu November 13, 2014

Here's a Look at the Master Plan for the Louisville Waterfront Botanical Garden

A rendering of the Visitor Center and water filtration garden.
Credit Botanica & the Waterfront Botanical Gardens

The group behind a project to build a botanical garden on Louisville’s waterfront will unveil its master plan tonight.

The non-profit Botanica has been working to create a botanical garden and conservancy in Louisville for several years. The chosen site is where Frankfort Avenue and River Road intersect: it’s where the Louisville neighborhood The Pointe was before the 1937 flood devastated the area. Later, it was a landfill. Now, it’s been remediated and is suitable for a garden.

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Environment
12:01 pm
Wed November 12, 2014

McConnell Criticizes China-U.S. Deal on Curbing Carbon Dioxide Pollution

Credit Erica Peterson/WFPL

The world’s two biggest emitters of carbon dioxide have reached an agreement on emissions reductions. The United States and China announced the deal yesterday, in a move that’s already being praised by environmental groups and panned by Congressional Republicans.

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Environment
5:03 pm
Tue November 11, 2014

Mine Inspector Charged With Accepting Bribes Faces Ethics Complaint

Credit Harry Schaefer / U.S. National Archives and Records Administration

A former state mine inspector indicted for taking bribes from a state lawmaker to ignore environmental violations is now facing charges from the Executive Branch Ethics Commission.

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