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
1:53 pm
Mon July 14, 2014

Louisville Records First Bad Ozone Day Since 2012

Credit Wikimedia Commons

Louisville’s streak of good air days has been broken.

The city recorded its first bad ozone day since 2012 on Friday, when levels were high enough to count as an exceedance of the federal government’s 8-hour standard.

Air Pollution Control District spokesman Tom Nord says the highest reading was 93 parts per billion at the District’s monitor on Cannons Lane.

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Environment
8:02 am
Sat July 12, 2014

Does McConnell and Grimes' Focus on Coal Distract From Economic Diversification?

Credit Decumanus / Wikimedia Commons

 Despite the fact that Mitch McConnell and Alison Lundergan Grimes made clear their unqualified support of Kentucky's coal industry, coal continues to play a role in this year's Senate election.

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Environment
5:23 pm
Fri July 11, 2014

Appeals Court Rules in Favor of EPA in Mountaintop Removal Case

Credit Gabe Bullard / WFPL

A federal appeals court today ruled in favor of the Environmental Protection Agency in a case that will affect how states including Kentucky and West Virginia issue permits for mountaintop removal coal mines.

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Environment
4:15 pm
Thu July 10, 2014

Fireworks Caused Louisville to Exceed Air Pollution Standards on July 4 For First Time Since 2010

Credit lkluft / Wikimedia Commons

By most measures, Louisville’s air quality has been pretty good this summer.

Typically, ozone is the pollutant that causes the problems: local pollution gets trapped in the Ohio River valley and cooks under the hot summer sun. A notoriously bad year for ozone was 2012, but since then Louisville hasn't had  any days that exceeded the federal ozone standard.

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Environment
2:47 pm
Mon April 14, 2014

What Kentucky's New Law on Carbon Dioxide Emissions Actually Means

Credit Erica Peterson/WFPL

Ignoring words of caution from his own administration, Governor Steve Beshear signed a bill directing the state’s Energy and Environment Cabinet to create a Kentucky-specific plan for regulating carbon dioxide emissions into law earlier this month.

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Environment
7:00 am
Mon April 14, 2014

New Website Seeks Memories of Eastern Kentucky Coal Camps

This schoolroom photograph from Balkan, KY was submitted to the Coal Camp Documentary Project by former resident James Walters.
Credit Family of James Walters / Coal Camp Documentary Project

A new project at the University of Kentucky is trying to document the state’s eastern coal camps, before memories of the area are lost forever.

The Coal Camp Documentary Project is a website that’s seeking to collect memories and photographs of the numerous coal camps that once existed in Eastern Kentucky. Some are still there, but many have been abandoned or demolished.

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Environment
5:28 pm
Thu April 10, 2014

Louisville Air Pollution Director Says First Phase of Agency's Reorganization is Nearly Complete

Keith Talley
Credit Louisville Metro Government

Louisville’s Air Pollution Control District is almost finished with the first phase of its restructuring.

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Environment
1:43 pm
Thu April 10, 2014

Louisville Ranked 25th in Nation Among Cities With Most Energy Star Buildings

After a several year hiatus, Louisville has returned to the list of the 25 cities with the most Energy Star-certified buildings in the nation. The last time Louisville made the  list was in 2009. This year, it was ranked 25th.

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Environment
12:01 am
Wed April 9, 2014

Middle Mississippi River Makes List of 'Most Endangered Rivers' for Flood Control Project

A paddler on the Mississippi River
Ted Heisel American Rivers

The stretch of the Mississippi River that touches Kentucky and Missouri is on one environmental group’s list of the most endangered rivers in the country. American Rivers says the wildlife of the Middle Mississippi River is threatened by a proposed flood control project.

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Environment
7:19 am
Mon March 31, 2014

New Recycling Program in Louisville's Center Aims to Divert More Waste Away from Landfill

Louisville Metro Government is rolling out a new voluntary program in the city’s Central Business District to try to increase recycling rates. ‘Wet-dry recycling’ is meant to make the process of recycling easier and more automatic for residents and businesses.

Here’s the way recycling works in most places: you have a special bin for cans or paper or bottles. Every time you go to throw something away, you have a choice to make: is it recyclable or not?

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