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
3:12 pm
Fri March 28, 2014

What 'Occasional' Really Means Is Key to Sierra Club's Planned Lawsuit Against LG&E

Credit Erica Peterson / WFPL

Last week, environmental groups announced their plans to sue Louisville Gas & Electric for pollution the company releases into the Ohio River from its Mill Creek power plant in Louisville. Sierra Club organizers took a year’s worth of time lapse photos from a hidden camera across the river from the plant, and captured a near-constant flow of water from Mill Creek’s coal ash pond into the river.

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Environment
7:24 pm
Tue March 25, 2014

Solid Waste Board Moves Forward on Plastic Bag Ban for Louisville Yard Waste

David Morris Flickr/Creative Commons

The Jefferson County Waste Management Board has opened up public comment on a draft regulation banning plastic bags for yard waste pickup.

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Environment
3:50 pm
Tue March 25, 2014

Judge Rules Bluegrass Pipeline Companies Don't Have Power of Eminent Domain

Erica Peterson WFPL

A Franklin County judge has ruled in favor of Kentucky residents who challenged whether companies have the power to invoke eminent domain to build a controversial natural gas liquids pipeline across the state.

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Environment
11:40 am
Tue March 25, 2014

Beshear Administration Warns Senate Budget Could Be Devastating to Coal Mine Safety

Decumanus Wikimedia Commons

The Kentucky Senate has passed its version of the budget, and the state’s Energy and Environment Cabinet is warning it could have dire consequences for coal mine safety.

The Senate’s version of the budget cuts the amount of money the state’s Office of Mine Safety and Licensing to $2,643,200. That’s a 65 percent cut from the amount of money Governor Steve Beshear recommended in his budget, and a 50 percent cut from the House’s version of the bill.

In a statement, Energy and Environment Cabinet officials said the change would hurt the state’s coal industry.

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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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