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
9:11 am
Sun November 4, 2012

Train Derailment: Hydrogen Fluoride Cars Stabilized

Louisville Metro

Update 6 p.m.: The two train cars containing hydrogen fluoride have been stabilized, and the shelter-in-place for the surrounding area is no longer in effect. The evacuations that were in effect for those within 1.2 miles of the site has also been lifted, and there are no longer any restrictions on air and water traffic.

Dixie Highway will remain close until further notice.

MetroSafe spokeswoman Jody Duncan says there were no complications today when stabilizing the hydrogen fluoride cars.

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Politics
4:56 pm
Sat November 3, 2012

Thieneman Says He Will Deliver Records to Prove Eligibility as Soon as Possible

State Senate candidate Chris Thieneman says he is an eligible resident of the 37th District, despite a lawsuit that calls his residency into question.

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Local News
9:08 am
Fri November 2, 2012

Train Derailment: Crews May Address Hydrogen Fluoride Cars Saturday

Update 9:45 p.m. Crews may attempt to stabilize and level two cars containing the dangerous gas hydrogen fluoride on Saturday afternoon -- work that would require another shelter-in-place warning for a five-mile radius of the train derailment site near Dixie Highway and Katherine Station Road, said Doug Hamilton, executive director of Louisville-Jefferson County EMA/MetroSafe.

On Friday night, crews were still moving cars at the derailment site to make way to the cars containing hydrogen fluoride, Hamilton said. They intended to work until midnight. 

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Environment
9:00 am
Fri November 2, 2012

Illegal Dump Numbers Decreasing in Kentucky

Kentucky Division of Waste Management

The Kentucky Division of Waste Management's efforts to clean up illegal dumps are showing positive results.

From the Department of Environmental Protection's Naturally Connected blog:

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Environment
8:30 am
Fri November 2, 2012

Bluegrass Bioneers Conference Looks for Innovation Solutions to Environmental Problems

Louisville’s fourth annual Bluegrass Bioneers conference begins today.

Bioneers is a conference held annually in California, then streamed to groups around the country. It’s meant to present innovative, pioneering solutions to some of the world’s most serious environmental issues.

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Environment
4:34 pm
Thu November 1, 2012

So Far, No Sign of Widespread Air, Surface Water Contamination From Chemical Spill

Regulators are still working to extinguish a fire at the site of the train derailment and chemical spill in southwest Jefferson County. But work has also begun to determine the environmental and health effects of the toxic chemicals that have already leaked.

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Environment
12:03 pm
Thu November 1, 2012

Five Things to Know About Hydrogen Fluoride

Right now, workers on the scene of the train derailment in southwestern Jefferson County are worried about extinguishing the fire that’s been burning since yesterday, likely caused by residual butadiene. But once that’s under control, they’ll turn their attention to two train cars full of a chemical called hydrogen fluoride. And as they’re working to stabilize and drain those cars, it’s likely there will be another shelter-in-place in effect for the surrounding areas. Why?

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Developing
7:37 am
Thu November 1, 2012

Fire, Evacuation at Train Derailment Site Endure

For updates on Friday regarding the train derailment in southwestern Jefferson County, go here.

Update 7 p.m.: The fire is still burning at the train derailment site in southwestern Jefferson County and the evacuation of a 1.2 mile radius endures. Crews are off-loading styrene monomer from a car the site Thursday night, said Jody Duncan, a MetroSafe spokeswoman.

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Environment
2:50 pm
Wed October 31, 2012

Alpha Announces Plans to Close Coal Mine in Eastern Kentucky

Alpha Natural Resources will close one of its coal mines in Eastern Kentucky.

The company will close the Still House Branch Mine in Cumberland in Eastern Kentucky. Forty miners will lose their jobs, and another 40 will be reassigned to other coal mines. Alpha spokesman Rick Nida says there are several factors that went into the decision to close the mine.

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Environment
1:31 pm
Wed October 31, 2012

LG&E Fined for September Coal Ash Violation

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

Louisville Gas and Electric has been issued another citation for coal ash violations at its Cane Run Power Station in southwest Louisville.

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