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
8:00 am
Fri October 12, 2012

Revealing a City's Greenhouse Gas Emissions...One Building at a Time

A new project by researchers at Arizona State University has succeeded in creating visualizations of a city’s greenhouse gas emissions. The first test case of the new technology is Indianapolis.

Here's the video the team made to showcase the technology:

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Environment
12:22 pm
Thu October 11, 2012

Regulators Grant Mercury Variance for Ohio River Plant

Ohio River regulators have voted unanimously to allow a West Virginia company five more years to comply with new, more stringent pollution requirements.

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Environment
9:00 am
Thu October 11, 2012

What Will it Take to Make Western Kentucky Aluminum Smelters Profitable?

The smokestack of an aluminum smelting plant, 1973.
Doug Wilson Environmental Protection Agency

Over the past several months, there have been worries that two big aluminum smelters in western Kentucky will shut down. Rio Tinto-Alcan has a plant in Sebree (Webster County) and Century Aluminum has a plant in Hawesville (Hancock County).

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Environment
5:10 pm
Wed October 10, 2012

New Solid Waste Plan Could Include Plastic Bag Ban, Food Waste Pickup

Louisville’s solid waste board is set to vote on the city’s five-year plan at the end of this month. If it passes, residents could see changes in how their trash is handled and recycled.

The plan includes three big ideas: banning plastic bags for use with yard waste, allowing citizens to place food scraps at the curb for composting and setting hard limits on how much trash can be thrown out—and charging extra for more trash.

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Environment
1:43 pm
Wed October 10, 2012

Judge Agrees to Settlement Between Coal Company, Kentucky for Water Pollution Violations

A Circuit Court judge has signed the settlement that a coal company, the commonwealth and environmental groups agreed to last week.

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Environment
9:00 am
Wed October 10, 2012

LG&E Ends Coal Contract with Consol Energy

Decumanus Wikimedia Commons

Louisville Gas and Electric and Kentucky Utilities are terminating the company’s contract with coal producer Consol Energy.

This news in and of itself isn’t huge—to put it in perspective, LG&E/KU burns 16 million tons of coal a year, and the company’s contract with Consol was only for 500,000 tons. But it was a good excuse to take a look at how the utility uses coal, and how its usage might change in the future.

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Environment
4:00 pm
Tue October 9, 2012

Campaigns Focus on Ohio Coal...But How Much Can a President Help the Industry?

Coal cars in Ashtabula, Ohio.
Decumanus Wikimedia Commons

Coal's role in this year's presidential election isn't going ignored by national media. Marketplace Morning Report had an interesting story this morning by Adriene Hill about the fuel's prominent role in President Obama and Mitt Romney's Ohio campaign strategies...even though there are less than 3,000 coal miners in the state. As the industry is always quick to point out, that doesn't include jobs that are related to and reliant on the coal industry.

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Environment
12:10 pm
Tue October 9, 2012

Cyclist Hit on Bardstown Road, Days Before Road is Closed to Encourage Cycling

Roland45 Wikimedia Commons

A bicyclist was hit by a car this morning on Bardstown Road, only days before the road is scheduled to be shut down for a few hours to encourage walking and cycling.

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Environment
8:30 am
Tue October 9, 2012

Energy Conference Panel Discusses Kentucky's Energy Future

The 36th Governor’s Conference on Energy and the Environment continues today in Louisville. I was there yesterday, as a participant in a panel loosely structured around a conversation on Kentucky’s energy future, and coal’s role in that mix.

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Environment
5:40 pm
Mon October 8, 2012

Abramson Says Kentucky Needs to Diversify its Energy Portfolio

Lieutenant Governor Jerry Abramson says it’s necessary to balance energy production with environmental stewardship. Abramson delivered the keynote address today during the Governor’s Conference on Energy and the Environment.

During his talk, Abramson touted Governor Steve Beshear’s energy plan, which calls for a quarter of Kentucky’s energy to come from renewable energy and efficiency measures by 2025.

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