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
3:08 pm
Mon March 24, 2014

University of Louisville Opens Car Sharing Program to Local Residents

Credit Shutterstock.com

After weak demand on campus, the University of Louisville is opening up its car share program to the public.

Car share programs already exist—and thrive—in cities around the country. The way they usually work is people pay a nominal fee to become members, and then pay an hourly fee to rent a car.

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Environment
9:30 am
Mon March 24, 2014

Market-Based Water Pollution Trading Begins in Ohio River Basin

Creative Commons

Three energy companies are the first participants in a new program to trade water pollution credits in the Ohio River Basin.

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Environment
7:00 am
Fri March 21, 2014

Another Question For Eastern Kentucky Biomass Plant: Is There Enough Water?

The future home of the ecoPower biomass plant.
Credit Frankie Steele / KYCIR

This story is part of a series from the Kentucky Center for Investigative Reporting and WFPL.  Read the other stories here.  

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Environment
1:01 pm
Thu March 20, 2014

Would the Eastern Kentucky Biomass Plant be Good for the Environment?

A concrete slab indicates the site of a projected biomass power plant.
Credit Frankie Steele/Kentucky Center for Investigative Reporting

This story is part of a series from the Kentucky Center for Investigative Reporting and WFPL.  Read the other stories here.  

For decades, Eastern Kentucky has been coal country. Coal provided work for thousands, while severance taxes contributed to county budgets. And while the industry has been in a steep decline over the past few years, coal still powers almost all of the electricity for the region and the state.

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Environment
3:29 pm
Wed March 19, 2014

Louisville Air District's Reorganization Continues, Amid Concerns from Environmental Groups

Louisville’s Air Pollution Control District is moving forward with its reorganization.

The APCD has been in some state of flux since August, when both state and federal audits found problems with the way the agency collects and analyzes air quality data. Since then, the APCD has been working to fix those issues and has also undertaken an extensive reorganization. That reorganization has meant that nearly all of the district’s employees have had to reapply for their jobs, and in some cases, job descriptions and requirements have been changed.

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Environment
8:51 am
Mon March 17, 2014

Using Hidden Camera Evidence, Environmental Groups Plan to Sue LG&E for Discharges into Ohio River

LG&E's Mill Creek Power Station
Erica Peterson WFPL

Update 1:25 p.m.: Comments from Division of Water and Louisville Gas & Electric.

After collecting a year's worth of images of what they say are illegal discharges from one of Louisville Gas & Electric's coal ash ponds into the Ohio River, environmental groups say they plan to sue the company.

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Environment
2:16 pm
Thu March 13, 2014

Louisville's Swift Plant Fined $98,000 for Two Years of Odor, Permit Violations

Part of the Butchertown neighborhood.
Credit Creative Commons

Louisville Metro Government has fined the JBS/Swift plant in the city’s Butchertown neighborhood nearly $100,000 for violations.

The Notice of Violation issued by the Louisville Air Pollution Control District alleges that the JBS Swift plant in Butchertown let objectionable odors leave the plant numerous times over the past two years, and cites more than 50 complaints from local residents. The facility was also fined for failing to report emissions and keep monitoring records.

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Environment
9:00 am
Sun March 9, 2014

Five Awesome Kentucky Coal Camp Photos From the National Archives

A miner. P V & K Coal Company, Clover Mine, Lejunior, Harlan County, Kentucky.
Credit Russell Lee / Department of the Interior/Wikimedia Commons

In the 1940s, photographer Russell Lee spent two years working for the United States Department of the Interior in Eastern Kentucky. During that time, he took thousands of pictures of coal miners and their families--many of which were centered in Harlan and Bell counties.

Lee's work contributed to health and safety changes that came about later in the mining industry, according to the Texas State Historical Association.

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Environment
5:13 pm
Thu March 6, 2014

Measure to Block Upcoming Greenhouse Gas Limits Passes House

Erica Peterson WFPL

The U.S. House of Representatives has passed a bill to block upcoming greenhouse gas regulations on power plants. The legislation is in response to proposed EPA rules designed to cut back on emissions that contribute to climate change.

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Environment
2:04 pm
Mon March 3, 2014

Groups Suing EPA Over Kentucky's Selenium Standard Add Nutrient Pollution to Complaint

JRLibby Wikimedia Commons

Environmental groups have amended their lawsuit against the federal Environmental Protection Agency over Kentucky’s water quality laws.

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