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
8:30 am
Tue March 5, 2013

Budget Cuts May Lead to Reduction in Toxic Air Monitoring in Louisville

The air monitoring program's funding has decreased significantly since 2008.
Russ Barnett KIESD

Without some additional grant funding, the air toxics monitoring run out of the University of Louisville will have to scale back next year.

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Environment
5:04 pm
Mon March 4, 2013

Department of Labor Announces $5 Million in Emergency Grant to Help Laid-Off Kentucky Coal Miners

Decumanus Wikimedia Commons

The Department of Labor is sending more than $5 million to Eastern Kentucky to help laid-off coal miners and their families. $5,192,500, to be exact.

The federal government announced the emergency grant today. In a press release, the agency said the money would go to providing re-training for miners and their spouses.

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Environment
2:27 pm
Mon March 4, 2013

Experts Discuss Climate Change, Polar Bears...and Polar-Grizzly Bear Hybrids

A polar bear in Wager Bay in the Canadian Arctic.
Ansgar Walk Wikimedia Commons

Last week, on International Polar Bear Day, WFPL and the Louisville Zoo hosted a discussion about polar bears and climate change in WFPL's studio. The panelists were:

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Environment
12:55 pm
Mon March 4, 2013

Obama Nominates New Heads of EPA, Energy Department

Gina McCarthy
EPA

President Obama has nominated Gina McCarthy to succeed Lisa Jackson as the administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency, and Ernest Moniz as his new energy secretary.

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Environment
7:55 am
Mon March 4, 2013

How Will the Sequester Affect Kentucky's Environment?

The across-the-board federal cuts known as the sequester went into effect Friday and will remain until Congress and President Obama can reach a deal on the budget. And those cuts could have a significant effect on environmental enforcement in Kentucky.

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Local News
3:09 pm
Fri March 1, 2013

Communities in Indiana, Kentucky Commemorate Tornado Anniversary

Saturday marks one year from the day tornados raked across the Midwest and South, killing 40 across the country and nearly obliterating towns like Marysville and Henryville in Indiana and West Liberty, Kentucky.

Here's what I found when I arrived in Marysville right after the tornado:

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Environment
2:06 pm
Thu February 28, 2013

Ex-Massey Executive Implicates Ex-CEO Blankenship in W.Va Mine Case

Brianhayden1980 Wikimedia Commons

A former mine company executive in West Virginia pleaded guilty today to federal charges stemming from the 2010 disaster at Massey Energy's Upper Big Branch Mine. David Hughart was the Massey division president overseeing the mine when it exploded, killing 29 coal miners.

From U.S. Attorney Booth Goodwin's office:

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Environment
5:38 pm
Tue February 26, 2013

Today: Scientists to Discuss Wildlife and Climate Change on International Polar Bear Day

Andrew Derocher

Wednesday is International Polar Bear Day, and the Louisville Zoo and WFPL are marking the occasion with a panel discussion about wildlife and climate change. The panelists include:

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Environment
2:04 pm
Mon February 25, 2013

American Electric Power Agrees to Stop Burning Coal at Coal-Fired Units in Kentucky, Indiana, Ohio

Credit Erica Peterson/WFPL

American Electric Power has agreed to stop burning coal at several coal-fired units in Kentucky, Indiana and Ohio. The company reached a settlement today with a coalition of environmental groups, several states and the Environmental Protection Agency.

From the Sierra Club:

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Environment
8:18 am
Mon February 25, 2013

LG&E's Plan to Close Ash Pond Could Be Replicated at Other Plants

Erica Peterson WFPL

Louisville Gas and Electric’s plan to put a cap made of coal ash on top of a coal ash pond at the Cane Run Power Plant in southwest Louisville has neighborhood residents concerned. But the head of the state’s solid waste branch says the plan is innovative, and he thinks it can be replicated at other power plants.

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