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.


5:01 pm
Tue October 7, 2014

Considering All the Health Effects of Retrofitting or Retiring a Paducah Plant

Credit Erica Peterson/WFPL

A new analysis from an environmental group takes a deep look at the potential health consequences of either retrofitting or retiring a Western Kentucky power plant.

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4:46 pm
Mon October 6, 2014

Video Purports to Show Grimes' Dislike of Coal. What Does It Really Say?

In a photo released by her campaign, Alison Lundergan Grimes visits a Floyd County coal mine earlier this year.
Credit Grimes campaign

Democratic Senate candidate Alison Lundergan Grimes isn’t being honest with voters about her support of Kentucky’s coal industry, according to a video released today by the conservative Project Veritas.

The video by James O’Keefe—who was widely criticized for deceptively editing a video about ACORN in 2009—relies on hidden camera interviews with Kentucky Democratic officials about Grimes and coal, but ultimately doesn't prove much about where she truly stands on coal.

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7:00 am
Sun October 5, 2014

What Could the West Virginia Plan to Frack Under the Ohio River Mean for Kentucky?

The Ohio River in West Virginia.
Credit Taber Andrew Bain/Creative Commons

West Virginia is accepting bids on a plan to allow hydraulic fracturing for natural gas (or “fracking”) beneath the Ohio River. The move would provide the state with much-needed revenue, but environmental and citizen groups are concerned about the possible contamination of drinking water for millions of people.

Louisville is one of the communities downriver that uses the river for drinking water.

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2:00 pm
Thu October 2, 2014

Kentucky's Largest Solar Array Will Be Built on an Old Landfill at Fort Campbell

Credit Fernando Tomas / Wikimedia Commons

A partnership between the local utility and state and federal government will build Kentucky’s largest solar array at Fort Campbell. The solar array will cover about 20 acres at the army base, and will produce five megawatts of power.

Kenya Stump, Kentucky’s assistant director of the Division of Renewable Energy, said five megawatts is enough energy to power about 500 homes.

The array will sit on an abandoned landfill, Stump said.

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IdeaFestival 2014
4:00 pm
Mon September 29, 2014

Fabien Cousteau on His Love of the Ocean, Climate Change and More

Fabien Cousteau
Credit Submitted photo

Fabien Cousteau is best known as the grandson of famed oceanographer Jacques Cousteau, but he’s also a scientist, explorer and filmmaker in his own right.

His latest project, Mission 31, prompted him to spend 31 days underwater. There, he and other scientists conducted experiments and broadcast their work in an effort to educate the public about the ocean. Cousteau is currently working on a book about the project.

Cousteau will be in Louisville on Tuesday as part of the IdeaFest Water Conference.

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1:34 pm
Wed September 24, 2014

Federal Grants Will Help Fund Solar Projects in Rural Kentucky

Credit Fernando Tomas / Wikimedia Commons

More than $329,000 in federal grants are coming to Kentucky for solar energy and energy efficiency projects in rural areas.

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12:50 pm
Mon September 22, 2014

Urging Action on Climate Change, Kentuckians Join 400,000 in New York City Rally

Credit South Bend Voice / Flickr/Creative Commons

Kentuckians joined politicians, celebrities, labor unions, U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon and about 400,000 other people in New York City this weekend to demand action on climate change. The People's Climate March was meant to draw attention to the communities that have already been affected by the world’s changing climate, and to spur world leaders into action to reduce carbon dioxide emissions.

Smaller marches were also held around the world yesterday, including one in Louisville that organizers said drew 150 people.

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8:00 am
Sun September 21, 2014

Campaign to Educate Louisville Residents on Yard Waste Plastic Bag Ban Begins

Credit David Morris / Flickr/Creative Commons

Fall officially begins Tuesday, and Jefferson County’s Solid Waste Authority is hoping it’ll be a good season to change the way county residents bag their leaves.

Earlier this year, the Waste Management District adopted a regulation that requires Jefferson County residents to use either paper bags or reusable containers for yard waste. Starting Jan. 1, crews won’t pick up yard waste bagged with plastic. 

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4:16 pm
Fri September 19, 2014

Report: 13 Percent of Country's Coal-Fired Power Plants Have Already, or Will Be, Retired

Credit Erica Peterson / WFPL

A new report by the federal Government Accountability Office raises concerns about electricity reliability in the United States as coal-fired power plants close to comply with environmental regulations.

The GAO report updates one the office originally published in 2012. That report estimated anywhere from two to 12 percent of the country’s coal-fired power plants would be retired by 2025. But now, the new data suggests the number is actually 13 percent.

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7:00 am
Thu September 18, 2014

Want to Get Your Energy From Renewable Sources? Louisville Has a New Option.

Credit Harvey McDaniel / Wikimedia Commons

A new start-up is offering ratepayers in Louisville another opportunity to get their electricity from renewable sources. Arcadia Power is selling Renewable Energy Certificates to customers around the country; now between Arcadia and a similar program offered by Louisville Gas and Electric, Louisvillians have two choices for buying renewable energy.

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