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
11:04 am
Fri June 28, 2013

Harmful Algae Bloom Reported in Taylorsville Lake

Taylorsville Lake
Credit parks.ky.gov

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is warning that an algae bloom in Taylorsville Lake may be harmful to people and animals.

This algae bloom is a type of cyanobacteria that produces toxins. It can cause nose and skin irritation, as well as other illnesses in humans and animals.

From the Kentucky Division of Water:

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Environment
8:19 pm
Thu June 27, 2013

At Public Meeting, Black Leaf Residents Question Regulators About Clean-Up Plans

Cleanup is scheduled to begin later this summer on 77 homes near the former Black Leaf Chemical site in Louisville, where testing has revealed widespread environmental contamination. At a public meeting tonight, residents were angry.

By all accounts, the former Black Leaf Chemical site in Louisville’s Park Hill neighborhood is contaminated. Regulators found high levels of pesticides, lead and arsenic in the soil on the site. Then more recently, testing in the private yards that back up to the plant revealed some contamination on 77 private properties.

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Environment
6:07 pm
Wed June 26, 2013

Kentucky Study Finds No Dangerous Levels of Heavy Metals in Public Drinking Water

Gabe Bullard WFPL

A new study by the Kentucky Division of Water finds there isn’t an unhealthy concentration of certain heavy metals in drinking water.

The state’s study is a response to a growing body of work that suggests there is a higher risk of cancer in Appalachian mining communities.

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Environment
4:54 pm
Wed June 26, 2013

White House Releases State-Specific Facts Making Case for Climate Change Action

Axel Kristinsson Wikimedia Commons

The White House has released state-specific facts about climate change, following the release of President Obama’s climate change proposal yesterday.

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Environment
5:12 pm
Tue June 25, 2013

Obama Lays Out Climate Change Plan; Kentucky Reacts

Erica Peterson WFPL

President Obama’s administration will take new, stricter steps to reduce the country’s greenhouse gas emissions. The president laid out his plan to address climate change this afternoon; it’s predictably won accolades from environmental groups, but is being attacked by the coal industry.

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Environment
1:04 pm
Tue June 25, 2013

Ahead of Obama's Climate Change Speech, Coal and Environmental Groups React

Decumanus Wikimedia Commons

President Obama is scheduled to lay out his plan for addressing climate change this afternoon, and politicians and organizations have already begun weighing in.

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Environment
3:08 pm
Mon June 24, 2013

Rubbertown Residents Get Fourth Code Red Alert in Two Weeks

A Code Red alert was issued as a precaution to Rubbertown residents today, after a 20% solution of sodium hydroxide was released at Lubrizol's plant. Metropolitan Sewer District and the Lake Dreamland Fire Department responded; it was classified as a Level 1 hazmat, and authorities decided there was no risk to the public.

But this was the fourth chemical spill in about two weeks in the area, beginning with the hydrochloric acid release on June 9 at DuPont's plant. Last week, American Synthetic Rubber reported two releases of hydraulic fluid--one of 150 gallons, and one of 60 to 80 gallons.

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Environment
8:00 am
Mon June 24, 2013

Trade Group Promotes Concrete as Partial-Solution to Louisville's Rising Temperatures

The Kentucky Ready Mix Concrete Association is renewing an advertising campaign to inform the public about Louisville’s recurring problems with the urban heat island effect.

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Environment
8:41 pm
Thu June 20, 2013

Faith, Environmental Groups Rally for Renewable Energy in Louisville

Brett Marshall Kertis Creative

Environmental and faith groups are coming together to advocate for an end to fossil fuels, and the resulting pollution that disproportionately affects poor and minority communities. The groups held a march and a rally Thursday  in Louisville.

The event was held in conjunction with the Unitarian Universalist General Assembly, which was in town this week. Local environmental groups joined in too, and brought in buses of people from around the state.

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Politics
3:02 pm
Thu June 20, 2013

Beshear Sets Special General Assembly Session for August 19

Steve Beshear
Credit Rae Hodge/Kentucky Public Radio

Kentucky Governor Steve Beshear is calling the General Assembly back to Frankfort for a special session in August.

Beshear issued the proclamation today. He’s asking state lawmakers to take on legislative and judicial redistricting during the special session, but says Congressional redistricting won’t be on the agenda.

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