Erica Peterson

Erica is WFPL's Environment Reporter and a Managing Editor. Her work focuses on the federal, state and local energy policy decisions that affect Kentuckians, as well as the environmental consequences. Since moving to Louisville in 2011, Erica has reported from caves, boats, airplanes, coal mines and rivers and won several local, state and national awards. A previous resident of West Virginia, New Jersey, Minnesota and Illinois, Erica has a bachelor's degree from Carleton College, and a master's degree in journalism from Northwestern University. She lives with her husband and son in Louisville.

coal

Federal Judge Says Colorado Coal Mine Permit Must Consider Greenhouse Gas Emissions. Could This Affect Kentucky?

May 24, 2015

A federal judge in Colorado has ruled the federal government should have taken the indirect environmental effects of expanding the Colowyo and Trapper coal mines into account before issuing a permit. Read Story

eminent domain

Kentucky Appeals Court Rules Natural Gas Liquids Pipelines Can’t Use Eminent Domain

May 22, 2015

The Kentucky Court of Appeals has upheld a lower court’s decision that a natural gas liquids pipeline would not have the right of eminent domain in the commonwealth. The unanimous decision means that only utilities regulated by the Public Service Commission can invoke eminent domain in Kentucky. Read Story

Louisville Again Falls Near Bottom of List Ranking Park Systems

May 20, 2015

Once again, Louisville has ranked poorly on the annual ranking of city park systems from a national group. Read Story

Kentucky May Get 20 More Days of 95-Plus Degree Heat By Mid-Century, Study Says

May 19, 2015

The study estimates that because of both climate and population changes between 2041 and 2070, there will be about 500 million more annual "person-days" of exposure to extreme heat in the “East South Central” region, which includes Kentucky, Tennessee, Alabama and Mississippi. Read Story

coal

Coal Association Says New Bank Policies Won’t Have Much Effect on Kentucky’s Industry

May 18, 2015

Earlier this month, Bank of America became the latest large financial institution to announce it would limit its financing of coal companies. Read Story

Kentucky’s Most Distinctive Cause of Death is Black Lung Disease

May 15, 2015

The most distinctive causes of death in Kentucky over the first decade of this century were occupational breathing diseases such as black lung disease, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Read Story

PlantedTrees

The Challenges of Increasing Louisville’s Tree Canopy

May 13, 2015

Public meetings begin this week to share information about Louisville’s draft assessment of the city’s urban tree canopy. The report found that the city is losing 54,000 trees each year because of factors including age, storms and pests. Read Story

farm

A Look at Kentucky Gubernatorial Candidate Comer’s Climate Change Remarks and Agriculture

May 11, 2015

Putting aside the science behind climate change, and the fact that nearly all climate scientists agree both that it’s happening and is influenced by human activity, it was a severe winter this year. Read Story

hall

Workgroup Appointed to Study Solutions for Flooded Louisville Homes

May 5, 2015

Louisville's mayor and Metro Council president appointed members on Tuesday to the workgroup that will study the regulations that prohibit homeowners from repairing certain flooded homes in the city. Read Story

Mill Creek

Kentucky Rep. Whitfield’s Bill Would Allow States to ‘Opt Out’ of Carbon Dioxide Regulations

May 5, 2015

“The bill does not repeal the Clean Power Plan nor does it preclude a state from moving forward with EPA’s agenda,” Whitfield said in a statement. “It simply creates a voluntary process to prevent the proposed rule from imposing unnecessary economic hardship.” Read Story

coal

More than 1,200 Kentucky Coal Jobs Have Been Lost So Far This Year

April 30, 2015

Coal jobs in Kentucky declined sharply in the first quarter of this year, according to the state’s latest quarterly coal report. Read Story

horse

Kentucky-Based Startup Recycles Horse Waste

April 30, 2015

On a small scale, it’s not a big deal to remove and compost the manure and urine laced-shavings. But for places with thousands of horses, it’s a nightmare. And that’s where the startup, Equine Eco Green comes in. Read Story

mcconnell

McConnell Cites New Legal Argument Opposing EPA’s Proposed Carbon Regulations

April 30, 2015

The EPA’s proposal—which hasn’t yet been finalized—will set greenhouse gas emissions reductions for each state. Read Story

IMG_4398

Does McDonald’s Burger Capture the ‘Spirit of Kentucky?’ (Depends on Who You Ask.)

April 29, 2015

“We got together in Louisville, and we though, a Derby Burger, a Bourbon Burger… What would that look like around Derby time?" said Steve Stratton, a local McDonalds owner. For Susan Reigler, a Kentucky bourbon and cuisine expert, the answer isn’t the Spirit of Kentucky burger. Read Story