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
9:49 am
Mon March 25, 2013

LG&E, Division of Wildlife Launch Live Web Stream of Peregrine Falcons Nesting at Power Plant

A peregrine falcon at the Louisville Zoo.
Ltshears Wikimedia Commons

Like watching live streamed videos of animals while you're at work? The Kentucky Division of Fish and Wildlife and Louisville Gas and Electric have launched a webcam for the public to view a pair of peregrine falcons which are nesting at LG&E's Mill Creek power plant.

There's not a lot of action in the nesting box right now, but there are five eggs which are expected to hatch sometime this week. Here are some archived videos.

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Environment
1:28 pm
Fri March 22, 2013

Energy Efficiency Saves Money, Teaches Lessons at Kentucky School

Richardsville Elementary
Erica Peterson WFPL

Kentucky’s utility rates are among the lowest in the nation. But even so, several public school districts have found that it still pays to build energy efficient schools. One such school in Warren County has taken efficiency even further, and is now generating more energy than the building uses.

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Environment
2:16 pm
Thu March 21, 2013

Abramson Awarded Environmental Steward Award

Kentucky Lieutenant Governor Jerry Abramson was awarded the 2013 Public Leadership in Energy and Environmental Steward Award at an annual meeting of the National Lieutenant Governor’s Association in Washington, D.C.

The award was presented by General Electric, a company with which Abramson worked extensively during his years as Louisville’s mayor. From the press release:

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Environment
1:19 pm
Thu March 21, 2013

Discarded Electronics Create Environmental Problems Nationwide...Is This the Case in Louisville?

takomabibelot Wikimedia Commons

The New York Times ran a story earlier this week that chronicles the growing problem of electronic waste in America. Even when consumers take their old devices to recycling centers (rather than disposing of them in landfills), often the electronics don’t actually get recycled properly. This made me wonder: is this the case in Louisville?

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Environment
6:04 pm
Wed March 20, 2013

Kentucky Denies Permit for Coal Ash Landfill At Trimble County Power Plant

LG&E's Trimble County Power Station
Erica Peterson WFPL

The Kentucky Division of Waste Management has denied a pending permit for a coal ash landfill in Trimble County.

The proposed landfill would have been 218 acres, near Louisville Gas and Electric’s Trimble County Power Station. It was meant to store the coal ash produced by the plant, but ever since it was first proposed, the project has encountered numerous problems.

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Environment
3:31 pm
Mon March 18, 2013

Exhibit Captures Relationship Between 1970s America, the Environment

Children play in yard of Ruston home, while Tacoma smelter stack showers area with arsenic and lead residue.
Credit Gene Daniels/National Archives / Records of the Environmental Protection Agency

Photographs of Americana taken through an environmental lens are on display as part of a new exhibit at the National Archives in Washington, DC. The photos were taken as part of the Environmental Protection Agency's DOCUMERICA Photography Project, and show life in the 1970s, often with an environmental bent.

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Environment
12:49 pm
Mon March 18, 2013

Study: Illness More Likely in Eastern Kentucky Coal County Than Non-Coal Counties

Gabe Bullard WFPL

A new health study in Eastern Kentucky has found that residents in a county where surface mining is prevalent have a higher instance of illness than residents in two control counties.

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Environment
7:30 am
Mon March 18, 2013

Water Advocates Discuss 'Dead Zone,' Need for Stricter Water Standards

‘Dead Zones’ are areas of low-oxygen levels in the ocean, caused by nutrient pollution. The world’s second-largest dead zone forms every summer in the Gulf of Mexico, thanks to runoff from farms and sewage treatment plants. While the pollution kills aquatic life in the dead zone, it can also kill fish and cause algae blooms upstream.

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Environment
1:25 pm
Fri March 15, 2013

In Kentucky's Carp Madness, Fishermen Net 83,000 Pounds Of Invasive Species

Credit Erica Peterson/WFPL

Asian carp is an invasive species of fish that can devastate aquatic ecosystems and, as they have a propensity for leaping out of the water, injure boaters. And once they've gotten into a river or lake, they're nearly impossible to get out. But for two days this week in Western Kentucky, teams of commercial fishermen tried. They descended on two lakes to catch as many Asian carp as possible. It was a tournament sponsored by the commonwealth and it was called…Carp Madness.

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Environment
5:51 pm
Thu March 14, 2013

Mine Safety Commission Rules in Favor of Whistleblower

Mackie Bailey in the P-1 Mine. The roof bolting machine's safety devices are visible in the foreground of the photo; law requires they be held against the roof.
Courtesy of Mackie Bailey

The Kentucky Mine Safety Review Commission has ruled that a coal miner who reported unsafe conditions won’t be punished for breaking the law.

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