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
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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Environment
2:16 pm
Thu March 13, 2014

Louisville's Swift Plant Fined $98,000 for Two Years of Odor, Permit Violations

Part of the Butchertown neighborhood.
Credit Creative Commons

Louisville Metro Government has fined the JBS/Swift plant in the city’s Butchertown neighborhood nearly $100,000 for violations.

The Notice of Violation issued by the Louisville Air Pollution Control District alleges that the JBS Swift plant in Butchertown let objectionable odors leave the plant numerous times over the past two years, and cites more than 50 complaints from local residents. The facility was also fined for failing to report emissions and keep monitoring records.

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Environment
9:00 am
Sun March 9, 2014

Five Awesome Kentucky Coal Camp Photos From the National Archives

A miner. P V & K Coal Company, Clover Mine, Lejunior, Harlan County, Kentucky.
Credit Russell Lee / Department of the Interior/Wikimedia Commons

In the 1940s, photographer Russell Lee spent two years working for the United States Department of the Interior in Eastern Kentucky. During that time, he took thousands of pictures of coal miners and their families--many of which were centered in Harlan and Bell counties.

Lee's work contributed to health and safety changes that came about later in the mining industry, according to the Texas State Historical Association.

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Environment
5:13 pm
Thu March 6, 2014

Measure to Block Upcoming Greenhouse Gas Limits Passes House

Erica Peterson WFPL

The U.S. House of Representatives has passed a bill to block upcoming greenhouse gas regulations on power plants. The legislation is in response to proposed EPA rules designed to cut back on emissions that contribute to climate change.

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Environment
2:04 pm
Mon March 3, 2014

Groups Suing EPA Over Kentucky's Selenium Standard Add Nutrient Pollution to Complaint

JRLibby Wikimedia Commons

Environmental groups have amended their lawsuit against the federal Environmental Protection Agency over Kentucky’s water quality laws.

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Environment
10:26 am
Mon March 3, 2014

A Year and a Half Later, Still No Movement in Big Kentucky-India Coal Deal

Harry Schaefer U.S. National Archives and Records Administration

The last time I checked in on that huge deal to ship nine million tons of Kentucky coal to India annually was in July, and at the time, the first shipment still hadn't left Kentucky.

Now, Tom Loftus of the Courier-Journal is reporting that the deal is still stalled.

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Environment
9:51 am
Mon March 3, 2014

What's Next for Federal Laws That Protect Streams from Coal Mining?

Gabe Bullard WFPL

A federal judge has overturned a controversial 2008 rule that environmental groups say didn’t adequately protect streams from coal mine pollution. But the rule’s intended successor has hit speed bumps in the regulatory process, and the Obama Administration has been accused of inaccurately estimating the economic impact of the rule. 

The Stream Buffer Zone rule went into effect in 2008, under President George W. Bush. It replaced a Reagan-era rule from 1983. 

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Environment
4:30 pm
Fri February 28, 2014

Presbyterian Movement to Divest from Fossil Fuel Companies Gains Momentum

The Mid-Kentucky Presbytery is the latest regional body of the Presbyterian Church to vote to divest the church’s assets from fossil fuel companies. The overture began with the Presbytery in Boston, and has since gained support from six other presbyteries across the country, including the Louisville-area group.

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Environment
1:04 pm
Thu February 27, 2014

Layoffs, Job Turnover Likely in Louisville's Air Pollution Control District Reorganization

Keith Talley
Credit Louisville Metro Government

The news last week that the Air Pollution Control District would undergo reorganization in the wake of several critical audits sparked worries from the agency’s employees, as well as criticism from an environmental group that perceived the change as an attack on the APCD’s pollution enforcement programs.

And now, new information has come to light about the number of potential jobs that could be eliminated in the shakeup.

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Environment
3:49 pm
Wed February 26, 2014

Bill to Clarify Eminent Domain Law for Bluegrass Pipeline Passes House Committee

A sign opposing the use of eminent domain for the Bluegrass Pipeline sat in a truck in Frankfort last summer.
Erica Peterson WFPL

A legislative committee has advanced a bill to clarify Kentucky’s eminent domain laws. If the bill becomes law it will affect plans for the Bluegrass Pipeline.

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