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
2:24 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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Education
9:56 am
Wed January 29, 2014

President Obama's State of the Union Didn't Please Environmental, Trade Groups

Barack Obama
Credit White House

In Tuesday's State of the Union address, President Obama dedicated several minutes to energy issues. And judging from the statements from non-profits and trade groups sent out soon after, he managed to make many diverse groups unhappy.

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Environment
7:00 am
Mon January 27, 2014

New Louisville App Will Track Bicycle Rides, and Could Influence Future Bike Lane Placement

Roland45 Wikimedia Commons

A project to use GPS data to determine the best location for bike lanes in Louisville has won a national grant. A new app for bicyclists was one of the winners of a $35,000 Knight News Challenge grant.

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Environment
2:42 pm
Fri January 24, 2014

University of Louisville Reports Large Reduction in Carbon Dioxide Emissions

University of Louisville Carbon Emissions by Source (2013)
University of Louisville

The University of Louisville is reporting early success reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

In its climate action plan, the University of Louisville set a goal of cutting carbon dioxide emissions by 20 percent by 2020. Now, the university has already met that goal…reducing emissions across all three of its campuses 27 percent since 2006.

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Environment
4:28 pm
Thu January 23, 2014

McConnell Files Resolution, Hoping to Block Proposed Carbon Limits for New Power Plants

Erica Peterson WFPL

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell is hoping for a vote soon to block federal limits on greenhouse gas emissions from new power plants.

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