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
7:52 am
Tue September 18, 2012

Coal and the Presidential Election

Harry Schaefer U.S. National Archives and Records Administration

In some states, the 2012 presidential election is turning into a race of who can support coal more.

That's not really in Kentucky, or in West Virginia, where voters will reliably lean Republican in national elections. But as McClatchy Newspapers reports, both Barack Obama and Mitt Romney are focusing on nearby Ohio.

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Environment
4:58 pm
Mon September 17, 2012

Federal Grant Gives TARC $4.4 Million to Replace Trolleys

A federal grant that directs more than $4 million to the Transit Authority of River City will help Louisville come into compliance with air quality standards.

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Environment
7:30 am
Mon September 17, 2012

Pre-IdeaFestival Symposium to Focus on Water

Louisville Water's Pump Station Number 1 on Zorn Avenue.

The actual Idea Festival starts on Wednesday. But on Tuesday, there’s a day of lectures and discussions all relating to water.

Speakers will run the gamut, from Greg Heitzman of Louisville Water to Gregory Luhan, architecture professor and associate dean of research at the University of Kentucky College of Design.

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Environment
2:28 pm
Fri September 14, 2012

Coal Ash Problems Continue at Cane Run

The smokestacks at LG&E's coal-fired Cane Run power plant.
Erica Peterson WFPL

Louisville Gas and Electric has had another equipment malfunction at its Cane Run plant, which released clouds of coal ash yesterday evening.

The sludge processing plant is the machine that takes the coal ash and mixes it with other materials to turn it into a concrete-like substance, so it can be put into the landfill. A video shot by Greg Walker, who lives across the street, shows clouds of ash rising above the plant—and over the dust screen the company installed in April.

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Environment
12:07 pm
Fri September 14, 2012

Analysis Predicts Decline in Coal Production Could Actually Increase Coal Employment

Harry Schaefer U.S. National Archives and Records Administration

An analysis out from the West Virginia Center and Policy--a nonpartisan think tank in Charleston--predicts that even while coal production in Central Appalachia declines, employment will rise.

This may sound counterintuitive. But the analysis by Sean O'Leary says that could happen, due to falling productivity. In that case, it would take the same number of miners to mine less coal.

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Environment
8:00 am
Fri September 14, 2012

Recent Mine Idling Shows Demand for Metallurgical Coal Faltering, Too

CONSOL Energy has decided to temporarily idle two coal mines, the Buchanan Mine in southwest Virginia and the Amonate Mining Complex in southern West Virginia.

This doesn't stand out as particularly surprising news--after all, demand for coal is dropping, and factors like low natural gas prices, an unseasonably warm winter and upcoming environmental regulations have made it a tough year for the industry.

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Environment
4:36 pm
Thu September 13, 2012

U of L Conference Outlines Possibilities, Existing Barriers to Green Infrastructure

The rain garden in front of the Metropolitan Sewer District's downtown headquarters is one example of green infrastructure.
Erica Peterson WFPL

There are already a number of green infrastructure projects underway in Louisville—green roofs, rain gardens, pervious parking lots, to name a few. But experts say there’s still a lot of untapped potential. A conference today at the University of Louisville looked at those projects and discussed how to expand the efforts.

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Environment
8:00 am
Thu September 13, 2012

Environmental, Religious Groups Convene in D.C.

Environmental activists are gathering in Washington D.C. today for an anti-mountaintop removal rally.

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Environment
5:00 pm
Wed September 12, 2012

Frankfort, Indianapolis Chosen by EPA For Sustainable Design Assistance

The capitals of Kentucky and Indiana are among five cities chosen to receive assistance in green design from the Environmental Protection Agency through the agency’s Greening America’s Capitals program.

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Environment
10:50 am
Wed September 12, 2012

Big Box Stores Lead U.S. Companies in Solar Power Usage

Fernando Tomas Wikimedia Commons

According to a list released this morning, retail giant Walmart leads U.S. companies in solar power installations. Walmart has 144 solar systems installed in seven states; as the report notes, the combined capacity of Walmart and Costco (number two on the list) is greater than all the solar capacity deployed in the state of Florida.

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