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
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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Environment
10:45 am
Wed October 31, 2012

Sandy: Freak Storm or Climate Change in Action?

Visualizations of Hurricane Sandy forming on October 24, 2012.
National Environmental Visualization Laboratory

As Sandy continues to batter most of the northeast, people have jumped to conclusions about what caused--or didn't cause-- the storm.

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Environment
9:04 pm
Tue October 30, 2012

Waste Management District Approves 5-Year Plan; Drafts Plastic Bag Ban Ordinance

The Louisville Waste Management District has passed a resolution adopting a new five-year solid waste management plan. The plan now goes to the state for approval.

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Environment
5:22 pm
Tue October 30, 2012

Indiana Court of Appeals Rejects Deal Between State, Coal Gasification Plant

The Indiana Court of Appeals has thrown out a deal between the Indiana Finance Authority and a company that wants to sell synthetic gas to the state's utility customers.

From The Associated Press:

The court ruled Tuesday that the deal should not include certain industrial customers, so the Finance Authority and Indiana Gasification must amend the contract and seek new approval by the Indiana Utility Regulatory Commission.

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Environment
5:00 pm
Tue October 30, 2012

Entire Car of Butadiene Drained in Derailment, Thousands of Gallons Spilled

Crews are still working to mitigate the damage from thousands of gallons of a flammable chemical that spilled early Monday after a train derailment in southwestern Jefferson County.

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Environment
9:00 am
Tue October 30, 2012

Coal Miner Discusses Mining Layoffs, Challenges Facing Eastern Kentucky

The newest installment of WMMT radio's Making Connections series features something that's often missing from the conversation about coal in eastern Kentucky: a coal miner telling his story and talking  about how the industry's decline is affecting him and his community.

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Environment
1:17 pm
Mon October 29, 2012

Coal Company, West Virginia Newspaper Reach Settlement in Libel Suit

A lawsuit filed against a West Virginia newspaper by a coal company has been resolved.

Murray Energy CEO Bob Murray sued the Charleston Gazette and reporter Ken Ward Jr. for a blog post where Ward mentioned Murray subsidiary Genwal Resources’ role in the 2007 Crandall Canyon mine disaster and Murray subsidiary Ohio Valley Coal Company’s more recent violations of the Clean Water Act.  As I reported back in August:

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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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