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
10:33 am
Mon October 29, 2012

5 Things to Know About Butadiene

A train derailed in southwestern Jefferson County this morning, and emergency personnel have reported that the chemical butadiene is leaking from a railcar. People living near Abbotts Beach Road in Jefferson County and Katherine Station Road in Bullitt County have been evacuated, and there's a shelter-in-place with a two-mile radius from the spill. Here are some things to know about the chemical that's leaking.

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Environment
9:00 am
Mon October 29, 2012

How Much Influence Should Extractive Industries Have Over Public Art?

Carbon Sink by Chris Drury
University of Wyoming Art Museum

A recent New York Times article dredged up a controversy that's been going on in Wyoming since this spring. The issue at hand is whether the University of Wyoming caved to pressure from politicians and coal companies when it removed a piece of public art from its campus a year ahead of schedule.

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Environment
8:20 am
Mon October 29, 2012

U of L to Hold Conferences Examining Multiple Aspects of Sustainability

Several days of lectures and discussions about sustainability kick off this Thursday in Louisville.

First, there’s the Campus Community Partnerships for Sustainability Conference. It’s co-hosted by Jefferson Community and Technical College and the University of Louisville, and features two days of events. Then, beginning Friday, Bluegrass Bioneers is coming back to town.

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Breaking
8:17 am
Mon October 29, 2012

Train Derailment: Evacuation, Road Closures Expected to Last At Least 24 Hours

Update: 5:40 p.m.

Evacuations and the shelter-in-place warning are still in effect late Monday afternoon after the morning train derailment in southwestern Jefferson County, said Jody Duncan, the MetroSafe spokeswoman. A shelter is being set up at the Nichols Fire Station No. 3 at 130 Meicel Lane in Bullitt County, about nine miles west of Shepherdsville.

Anyone who wants use the shelter space is asked to call the Red Cross at 561-3642.

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Environment
3:00 pm
Fri October 26, 2012

Mountaintop Removal Activist Wins Prestigious Wallenberg Medal

The University of Michigan awarded the prestigous Wallenberg Medal to mountaintop removal activist Maria Gunnoe earlier this week.

Gunnoe lives in Boone County, W.Va., and has spent the past eight years campaigning against mountaintop removal and its environmental effects in Appalachia. Gunnoe was also the 2009  Goldman Prize honoree from North America.

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Environment
12:09 pm
Fri October 26, 2012

Biologists Use New "Bug Index" to Evaluate Ohio River Water Quality

Biologist Ryan Argo disturbing the river sediment in search of macroinvertebrate samples.
Erica Peterson WFPL

For years, biologists have analyzed fish tissue to gauge the water quality in rivers. But in the Ohio River, researchers are now looking at bugs, too.

Ryan Argo and Jamie Wisenall are standing in the shallows of the Ohio River, just outside Owensboro. With long nets, they reach towards the river bottom, scooping up the sediment.

They wade back to the boat, and examine their haul…lots of larvae, and one identifiable leech.

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Environment
10:35 am
Thu October 25, 2012

Coal Mining Costs are on the Rise

There are lots of factors playing into declining coal production in Central Appalachia: low natural gas prices, high stockpiles of coal after a warm winter and new environmental regulations.

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Environment
11:50 am
Tue October 23, 2012

2012 Expected to be a Record Year for Coal Exports

Energy Information Administration

Coal exports are expected to exceed record levels this year, according to the Energy Information Administration.

By the end of the year, the country is expected to have exported 125-133 million tons of coal—which shatters the previous record of 113 million tons set in 1981. This is largely due to a very strong first six months of the year, and the EIA notes that since then, the global demand for American coal has been slightly waning.

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Environment
9:00 am
Tue October 23, 2012

Bernheim Recognized as One of "America's Prettiest Parks"

Bernheim's visitor center.
Bedford Wikimedia Commons

Congressman Brett Guthrie is in Clermont today to officially recognize Bernheim Arboretum and Research Forest as one of "America's Prettiest Parks" with a Congressional Record honor.

Bernheim was included in a Yahoo! Travel post in August that picked eight parks around the country as the nation's prettiest. Here's what they said about Bernheim:

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Environment
3:55 pm
Mon October 22, 2012

First Shipment in Kentucky-India Coal Deal Delayed

Harry Schaefer U.S. National Archives and Records Administration

The first shipment in a huge deal to export coal to India hasn’t yet left Appalachia.

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