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
4:32 pm
Wed September 19, 2012

Study Says Demand for Local Food Outpaces Supply in Louisville

Vassil Wikimedia Commons

A new survey suggests demand for local food in Louisville exceeds the current supply.

The preliminary results of a study commissioned by local nonprofit and food advocate Seed Capital Kentucky show that Jefferson County residents are already knowingly buying local food—and would buy even more if given the chance.

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Environment
4:14 pm
Tue September 18, 2012

CEO Says Proposed Innovation Center Could Make Louisville International Center of Water Research

One of the models for the Water Innovation Center, designed by architecture students at UK's College of Design.
Louisville Water Company

Louisville Water Company officials say they’d like to build an international water innovation center in Louisville. The idea was presented today as part of a pre-Idea Festival conference focusing on water.

Louisville Water Company CEO Greg Heitzman says the idea makes sense in a place like Louisville.

“Essentially what it will do is bring water to the people,” he said. “So what we’re going to be doing is taking what we do inside of our water company box and opening that up to the public.”

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Environment
4:10 pm
Tue September 18, 2012

Water Conference Presenter Advocates for Restoration of Falls of the Ohio

A consultant says Louisville should restore the Falls of the Ohio to its natural state, which would spur tourism. The presentation was part of today’s pre-Idea Festival conference about water.

The Falls of the Ohio are technically still there, but most of the falls have been covered by flooding from the McAlpine dam. Steven Greseth says the dam should be relocated, and the historic falls should be restored.

Greseth says restoring the falls would give Kentucky and Indiana residents a tie to their history to be proud of, and could also boost tourism in the area.

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Environment
1:46 pm
Tue September 18, 2012

Small Ammonia Leak in Butchertown Leads to Plant Evacuation

According to Louisville Emergency Management, there's been a "very small" ammonia leak at a Stir the Pot, a Butchertown food manufacturing plant. A Code Red alert was sent out to the plant's neighbors, but the Louisville Fire Department says there's no danger to the public. Plant employees were evacuated.

Stir the Pot is  located at 1057 E. Washington Street.

Environment
12:54 pm
Tue September 18, 2012

More Details Emerge in Indian Coal Scandal, With Possible Problems for Kentucky Deal

Harry Schaefer U.S. National Archives and Records Administration

The Indian media has been all over the recent scandal over the country’s coal allotments—the system where the state’s resources are divvied up among companies. And the various articles are of obvious interest to Kentucky, where a private company recently inked a $7 billion deal to send up to 9 million tons of Appalachian coal to India every year for the next twenty-five years.

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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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