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
5:16 pm
Thu February 13, 2014

Gas Explosion, Corvette Museum Sinkhole Underscore Opposition to Bluegrass Pipeline

Opponents of the Bluegrass Pipeline rallied in Frankfort this summer.
Erica Peterson WFPL

A natural gas pipeline explosion in southern Kentucky this morning, paired with a spontaneous sinkhole at Bowling Green’s Corvette Museum yesterday, is providing fodder for the opposition to a proposed natural gas liquids pipeline.

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Environment
4:49 pm
Wed February 12, 2014

Two Weeks Later, Cleanup Continues at Pulaski County Fuel Spill Site

Clean-up is continuing nearly two weeks after a tanker truck spilled more than 8,000 gallons of fuel in Pulaski County, Kentucky.

A fuel spill of this magnitude would have caused problems no matter the location. But the accident on January 30 was in the midst of the Sloans Valley cave system near Somerset, and early tests showed that at least some of the fuel entered the cave.

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Environment
4:16 pm
Tue February 11, 2014

Bluegrass Pipeline Developers Submit Application for Federal Permit

Opponents of the Bluegrass Pipeline protested this summer in Frankfort.
Erica Peterson WFPL

The companies seeking to build a natural gas liquids pipeline across Kentucky and Ohio have submitted a permit application to the Louisville District of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.

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Environment
3:46 pm
Tue February 11, 2014

On the Kentucky Legislature's Proposed Constitutional Amendment and Environmental Regulations

Credit File photo

A bill moving through the Kentucky General Assembly would place a measure on the ballot to allow legislators to overturn executive branch actions. And if the measure ever becomes law, it could have an effect on Kentucky’s environmental laws.

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Environment
2:24 pm
Mon February 10, 2014

EPA Concludes Recycling Coal Ash in Concrete, Wallboards is Safe

Coal ash stored in a landfill at LG&E's Cane Run Power Station.
Erica Peterson WFPL

The Environmental Protection Agency is under deadline to finalize the country’s first-ever measures regulating coal ash by next December, and it’s considering two different options: one that would regulate the material as a hazardous material, and the other as a “special waste.” But last week, the EPA released the results of a study which could preview which way the agency is leaning:

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Environment
2:44 pm
Thu February 6, 2014

Film to Explore Appalachia's Future from an Eastern Kentucky Perspective

Credit "Appalachia 2050"

A new independent film explores the problems and potential that lies in Eastern Kentucky. The film is premiering as part of nonprofit group Kentuckians for the Commonwealth’s “Louisville Loves Mountains Week.”

Ralph Davis is a native of Floyd County in Kentucky.  Besides his foray into independent filmmaking, he runs the local newspaper and is the market manager for the Floyd County Farmers Market.

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Environment
2:33 pm
Wed February 5, 2014

More Than 2,300 Kentucky Coal Jobs Were Lost in 2013

Kentucky’s coal industry shed more than 2,300 jobs in 2013, according to the latest numbers from the state Energy and Environment Cabinet. And most of those losses were in the Eastern Kentucky coalfields.

The final 2013 quarterly coal report from the Energy and Environment cabinet wraps up a dismal year for the state’s coal industry. And for Eastern Kentucky, the quarter marks the 10th straight quarter of declining coal employment.

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Environment
4:10 pm
Tue February 4, 2014

Sierra Club Poll: Americans Want Carbon Regulations for Power Plants

Erica Peterson WFPL

The Sierra Club is touting new poll results that show a majority of respondents favor more regulations on carbon dioxide pollution from power plants.

The survey was conducted last month by progressive polling firm Greenberg Quinlan Rosner Research. Pollsters surveyed 1000 registered voters across the country via land lines and cell phones.

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Environment
9:02 am
Tue February 4, 2014

Duke Energy Reports Coal Ash Spill in North Carolina

Up to 82,000 tons of coal ash has spilled into a river in Eden, North Carolina, about 35 miles north of Greensboro. The ash was stored in a pond at a retired power plant operated by Duke Energy.

From the Charlotte Observer:

Duke said a 48-inch stormwater pipe beneath the unlined ash pond broke Sunday afternoon. Water and ash from the 27-acre pond drained into the pipe.

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Environment
2:57 pm
Fri January 31, 2014

EPA Agrees to Finalize Coal Ash Rule by December 19

The coal ash landfill at the Cane Run Power Station
Erica Peterson WFPL

After nearly 4 years of delays, the Environmental Protection Agency has agreed to finalize its regulations for coal ash by December.

Coal ash is a byproduct of burning coal in power plants. In Louisville, it’s stored at both the Cane Run and Mill Creek power plants. But despite promises to regulate the ash after a disastrous 2008 spill in Kingston, Tennessee, the EPA hasn’t finalized regulations.

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