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
5:18 pm
Thu May 30, 2013

Judge Rules Patriot Coal Can Scrap Union Contracts

Decumanus Wikimedia Commons

A judge has ruled that Patriot Coal can cut health care and pension benefits that were promised to coal miners through collective bargaining agreements with the union.

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Environment
12:04 pm
Thu May 30, 2013

Metropolitan Sewer District Fined $161,000 For Illegal Sewer Overflows

Metropolitan Sewer District

Unfortunately, sewer overflows aren’t really anything out of the ordinary in Louisville. There were 400 times in 2010 and 2011 when untreated waste flowed illegally into area waterways: more than 100 million gallons of sewage. Now the Metropolitan Sewer District has been fined $161,000 by state and federal environmental regulators.

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Environment
2:22 pm
Wed May 29, 2013

Builder Hopes Sustainable Home Will Be a Model for Future Houses

Sy Safi on the porch of his model home.
Erica Peterson WFPL

Construction is finished on what could be the most sustainable home in the city, and  the home builder hopes to re-create his sustainable house in other areas.

Sy Safi’s model home is just outside the Gene Snyder Freeway, near Fern Creek. It looks like most of the other houses in this partially-finished subdivision. But Safi’s home is different.

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Environment
10:38 am
Tue May 28, 2013

America's New Energy Export Is...Trees?

Σ64 Wikimedia Commons

When we talk about exporting energy sources to other countries, the conversation tends to center on fossil fuels. Here in Kentucky, it's all about coal, and even as the nation cuts back on coal burning, many mines are hoping that burgeoning economies in Asia will help fill in the economic gaps.

But the BBC Newshour had an interesting story this morning about another fuel that America is exporting: wood. Trees that are grown in the Southeast are being sent to Europe to fuel biomass boilers, and there's a debate about whether that process actually helps the European Union further its stated goals of reducing carbon dioxide emissions.

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Environment
2:00 pm
Mon May 27, 2013

Kentucky Center Scales Back Plans for Green Roof

A rendering of the Kentucky Center's green roof.
Joseph & Joseph Architects

The Kentucky Center for the Performing Arts has revised its plans for the building’s green roof.

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Environment
5:00 pm
Sun May 26, 2013

New Pavement at Ford Plant Diverts Millions of Gallons of Stormwater From Waterways

Workers installing the pervious pavement.
Greg Long Ford

Ford’s Louisville Assembly Plant is getting recognition for a green infrastructure project the company completed last year.

The plant has a lot of paved surfaces…the employee parking lot alone is about 20 acres. And all of that pavement means when it rains, gallons of water and pollution runoff into nearby streams.

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Environment
3:20 pm
Fri May 24, 2013

Paducah Gaseous Diffusion Plant Will Close at End of Month

The Paducah Gaseous Diffusion Plant
Utilisateur 65872 Wikimedia Commons

The U.S. Department of Energy has rejected a proposal that would have extended operations at the Paducah Gaseous Diffusion Plant.

For about 60 years, the plant has processed uranium for use in nuclear power plants. Last May, it was scheduled for closure, but a new agreement with the Tennessee Valley Authority and Energy Northwest pushed back the planned shutdown date.

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Environment
4:38 pm
Thu May 23, 2013

New Chemical Safety Bill Introduced; Health Advocates Say It's Lacking

A bipartisan bill to reform some of the country’s laws regulating chemicals has been introduced in the Senate, but some environmental advocates say it’s missing key provisions.

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Environment
3:32 pm
Wed May 22, 2013

Kentucky Coal Employment Hits Lowest Level Since 1950

Decumanus Wikimedia Commons

A quarterly report shows that the number of jobs in Kentucky’s coal industry has dropped to the lowest level in at least 63 years.

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Environment
8:00 am
Mon May 20, 2013

Tomorrow's Discussion on Coal Aims to Get at Facts Behind Rhetoric

Decumanus Wikimedia Commons

Tom FitzGerald of the Kentucky Resources Council and Jim Waters of the Bluegrass Institute often disagree on some aspects of Kentucky coal production, federal regulations and the environment (as evidenced by this recent opinion piece written by Waters).

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