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
12:11 pm
Wed October 3, 2012

More Coal Production Cuts Could Be Coming, Despite Slightly Higher Gas Prices

Harry Schaefer U.S. National Archives and Records Administration

Rising natural gas prices could mean good news for the country's coal industry...but there are still likely cuts to come in Central Appalachia. That's the gist of an article from SNL Finanacial.

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Environment
4:59 pm
Tue October 2, 2012

Buechel, Newburg Residents Protest New MSD Overflow Basin

Residents of Louisville’s Newburg and Buechel neighborhoods are protesting a planned sewage overflow basin in their area. They held a protest at City Hall today.

The Metropolitan Sewer District began constructing the basin on a 40 acre site near Poplar Level Road, Jennings Lane and Produce Road six months ago. It’s designed to hold 100 million gallons of water, but will only be put to use when rain causes the city’s sanitary sewer system to overflow. Without a catch basin, the water flows untreated into area streams and the Ohio River.

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Environment
1:55 pm
Tue October 2, 2012

Judge Rules Against Groups Seeking Federal Designation for W.Va. Mountain

A federal judge has ruled against environmental groups who wanted a mountain in West Virginia to be returned to the National Register of Historic Places.

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Environment
11:25 am
Tue October 2, 2012

Genius Grant Winners Include Ecologist Who Studies Gulf of Mexico's Dead Zone

This map shows the rivers that drain into the Gulf of Mexico, and the Gulf's hypoxic--or dead--zone.
Environmental Protection Agency

The John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation announced the recipients of their 'Genius Grants' yesterday, and one of them is a scientist dedicated to studying the dead zone in the Gulf of Mexico. Nancy Rabalais is a marine ecologist and the executive director of the Louisiana Universities Marine Consortium.

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Environment
5:24 pm
Mon October 1, 2012

Public Service Commission to Study Smart Grid Technology

A smart meter installed in Ypsilanti Township, Michigan.
Dwight Burdette Wikimedia Commons

The Kentucky Public Service Commission will begin a study of smart grid technology, and whether the devices will help electric consumers.

The term “smart grid” is used to refer to technology like smart meters, and other equipment that helps utilities monitor electricity and detect outages. PSC spokesman Andrew Melnykovych says the tools can be useful for consumers, too.

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Environment
3:31 pm
Mon October 1, 2012

PSC Agrees to $58 Million Settlement in Big Rivers Rate Case

Smokestacks rising above a coal-fired power plant in Louisville.
Erica Peterson WFPL

The Kentucky Public Service Commission has accepted a settlement in a rate case involving Big Rivers Electric Corp., which provides power to several electric co-ops in western Kentucky.

When Big Rivers proposed environmental upgrades earlier this year, the improvements were estimated to cost ratepayers more than $283 million. The company planned to install more stringent pollution controls at four of its power plants, and convert the coal-fired Reid Plant in Sebree to natural gas.

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Environment
9:00 am
Mon September 24, 2012

NASA Scientist Discusses Climate Change, Effect on Kentucky

In increasing numbers, scientists are in agreement that the earth’s climate is changing, and human carbon dioxide emissions are contributing to those changes. A NASA climate scientist was in Louisville this weekend to talk about the growing evidence.

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Environment
8:24 am
Mon September 24, 2012

Artificial Cave May Help Researchers Study Deadly Bat Disease

Marvin Moriarty USFWS

Researchers in Tennessee hope the creation of an artificial cave will help stop the progress of a deadly bat disease.

White Nose Syndrome was discovered in 2006 in upstate New York, and now it has spread to four Canadian provinces and 19 states, including Kentucky. The disease is caused by a white fungus, and so far scientists aren’t really sure how to control it.

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Environment
3:37 pm
Fri September 21, 2012

Bellarmine Climate Change Symposium is Tomorrow

Tomorrow is Bellarmine University's climate change symposium.

The day-long event (9 am to 3 pm) will feature a presentation by University of Louisville climatologist Keith Mountain, who will talk about his research on receeding glaciers. The keynote speaker is Gavin Schmidt, who's a climate scientist at NASA's Goddard Institute for Space Studies. There's also a workshop for K-12 educators, an interactive teleconference from the NASA JetPropulsion Laboratory’s Center for Climate Sciences, and a panel discussion on the biological effects of climate change.

The event is free and open to the public.

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Environment
10:26 am
Fri September 21, 2012

First "CycLOUvia" Will Close Part of Bardstown Road to Vehicles Oct. 14

Ciclovia in Bogota.
MacAllenBrothers Wikimedia Commons

Louisville will block off parts of Bardstown Road and Baxter Avenue from Broadway to the Douglass Loop on one Sunday in October to encourage walking and biking.

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