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
11:11 am
Fri December 7, 2012

Mayor Greg Fischer Gives Wife Recycling Bin

Calling it "the gift that keeps on giving," Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer has given his wife Alexandra Gerassimides a new municipal wheeled recycling bin for Christmas.

In a video released by the Mayor's office, Fischer presents the gift to his wife an unorthodox three weeks before the Christmas holiday. The video shows the gift was a surprise, though Fischer dropped hints in the hours leading up to the gift's presentation.

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Environment
2:12 pm
Wed December 5, 2012

Environmental Groups Tout Carbon Capture as Part of Climate Change Solution

The smokestacks at LG&E's coal-fired Cane Run power plant.
Erica Peterson WFPL

A coalition of environmental groups say they’re supporting more widespread use of carbon capture and sequestration technology. The ENGO Network—which includes representatives from the Natural Resources Defense Council, the Clean Air Task Force and the Environmental Defense Fund, among others—announced the position at the UN climate talks in Doha, Qatar, yesterday.

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Environment
5:55 pm
Tue December 4, 2012

Louisville's Sustainability Plan to Be Released Next Month

A draft of Louisville’s comprehensive sustainability plan is finished.

Louisville Director of Sustainability Maria Koetter was placed in charge of the plan when she began her job in January. The draft hasn’t been released to the media or public yet, but it’s been submitted to Mayor Greg Fischer for his review.

Mayor’s spokesman Chris Poynter says the final plan will include measures big and small the city can undertake to improve sustainability.

Environment
4:43 pm
Tue December 4, 2012

NRDC Proposes Plan to Reduce Power Plant Carbon Emissions

Erica Peterson WFPL

A national environmental group is proposing a plan to reduce carbon pollution from power plants across the country.

The Natural Resources Defense Council’s proposal is one the group says the federal government could implement under the existing Clean Air Act—and thus, wouldn’t need Congressional action. It advocates for reducing carbon dioxide emissions from existing power plants.

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Environment
12:21 pm
Mon December 3, 2012

Kentucky Lets You Shoot or Watch Sandhill Cranes This Season

A Sandhill Crane flying at Sacramento River National Wildlife Refuge, Dayton, California, USA.
Steve Emmons U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service

If you want to look at sandhill cranes--or just shoot them--opportunities abound this season.

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Environment
9:00 am
Mon December 3, 2012

What Effect Could Upper Big Branch Prosecutions Have on Kentucky Mine Safety?

Federal prosecutors in West Virginia are moving further up Massey Energy’s chain of command in their investigation into a 2010 mine disaster that killed 29 coal miners.

Another Massey Energy executive has been charged in connection with the federal criminal investigation into the 2010 explosion at the Upper Big Branch mine. David Hughart didn’t work at the mine, but last week agreed to plead guilty to conspiracy to violate federal mine safety laws.

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Environment
8:25 am
Mon December 3, 2012

First Shipment in Kentucky-India Coal Deal Still Delayed

Harry Schaefer U.S. National Archives and Records Administration

That deal to export Kentucky coal to India still hasn't been scheduled.

The deal was announced in August—an agreement to send up to nine million tons of Appalachian coal to India every year for 25 years. The first shipment was supposed to leave the U.S. in September, but the company responsible for facilitating the transportation says it still hasn’t been scheduled.

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Environment
1:48 pm
Thu November 29, 2012

LG&E Breaks Ground on New Pollution Controls, Officials Praise Results of EPA Regulations

Mill Creek
Erica Peterson WFPL

Louisville Gas and Electric has broken ground on nearly a billion dollars worth of new pollution controls at the company’s Mill Creek Power Plant in southwest Louisville. It’s a two-year process that the company estimates could create up to 700 new construction jobs.

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Environment
9:01 am
Thu November 29, 2012

Former Coal CEO Blankenship Tells WSJ He Doesn't Plan to Return to Mining

Brianhayden1980 Wikimedia Commons

Former Massey Energy CEO Don Blankenship tells the Wall Street Journal that despite incorporating several companies in Kentucky, he doesn't have plans to return to the coal business.

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Environment
5:17 pm
Wed November 28, 2012

Kentucky Mine Flagged by MSHA, Placed on Special Status

The federal government has given four mines—including one in Kentucky—a warning that if they don’t make strides in health and safety, they could be put on a “pattern of violations” status.

Once a mine is marked as having a pattern of violations, any significant and substantial violations that are found by regulators would require that section of the mine to be temporarily shut down.

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