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.

Pages

Environment
10:40 am
Tue September 4, 2012

Public Hearing Tonight on Five-Year Solid Waste Plan

Louisville's Solid Waste Management division will hold a public hearing tonight on its five-year plan for the city's garbage and recycling programs.

The plan includes a proposal to ban the use of plastic bags for yard waste and expand composting. As I reported last month, at least one member of the solid waste advisory committee is skeptical.

Read more
Environment
4:30 pm
Mon September 3, 2012

Alabama Plant Begins Capturing, Sequestering Carbon Dioxide

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

A pilot project to capture and store carbon dioxide has begun at a power plant in Alabama. The effort at the Barry Electric Generating Station began in full at the end of last month.

The plant is big, and the carbon-capture apparatus is small, so only about one percent of the flue gas is actually being captured. But the fact that the carbon dioxide is also being transported about 12 miles through a pipeline and sequestered deep in the earth is an important step for the technology.

Read more
Environment
10:30 am
Mon September 3, 2012

Drought Conditions Could Affect Honeybee Colonies

ForestWander Wikimedia Commons

The drought that’s been plaguing areas of Kentucky and Indiana for much of the summer could end up having an effect on honeybee colonies, too.

Sean Burgess is Kentucky’s state apiarist. He says this time of year is critical for bee colonies, because it’s when they harvest nectar to make the honey that nourishes them through the winter.

Read more
Local News
8:00 am
Sun September 2, 2012

Six Months After Deadly Tornadoes, Communities Mark Milestones

A bus thrown into a store in Henryville, IN after tornadoes ripped through the town on March 2, 2012.
Erica Peterson WFPL

Today marks six months from the day tornadoes tore through parts of Indiana and Kentucky, killing more than 30 and destroying buildings in their path. Churches in Kentucky, Indiana and Ohio are marking the milestone.

Read more
Environment
2:03 pm
Fri August 31, 2012

MSHA Reports Success With Increased Efforts to Protect Whistleblowers

The federal Mine Safety and Health Administration is reporting increases in the number of miners who have filed discrimination complaints after reporting safety violations.

Federal law protects miners who report unsafe working conditions to employers, or refuse to work until the problem is fixed. But Assistant Secretary of Labor Joe Main says that after the explosion at the Upper Big Branch Mine in West Virginia two years ago, it was obvious many miners were afraid to exercise their rights.

Read more
Environment
4:30 pm
Thu August 30, 2012

Murray Energy Sues WV Newspaper, Reporter for Libel

A coal operator is suing a West Virginia newspaper and reporter for libel.

Read more
Environment
10:26 am
Thu August 30, 2012

Whiskey Fungus Lawsuits Attract Attention of New York Times

Whiskey fungus in Scotland.
Roger Griffith Wikimedia Commons

Kentucky's whiskey fungus lawsuits are getting some national attention. The New York Times ran a piece yesterday about the fungus--scientifically called Baudoinia--that's prevalent on the outside of distilleries and homes near them. The lawsuit charges that the fungus germinates on ethanol which is released during fermentation.

Read more
Environment
5:45 pm
Wed August 29, 2012

Report Says Nation's Newest Coal Plant Isn't as Cheap as Promised

Prairie State Energy Campus
Prairie State

A large coal-burning power plant in Illinois that provides electricity to some areas of Western Kentucky and Indiana is under fire. A non-profit analyzed the costs of the plant and the numbers suggest ratepayers in eight states are paying more than they should.

Read more
Environment
11:26 am
Wed August 29, 2012

High Ozone Levels Expected Tomorrow

So much for hopes that rainy weather would keep ozone levels in the Louisville Metro area in the normal range. The Air Pollution Control District is forecasting the air will be unhealthy for sensitive groups (like the elderly, the young, and those with heart and lung conditions) on Thursday.

Ozone levels are expected to be high, and the Air Quality Index is predicted to be 106.

Environment
10:50 am
Wed August 29, 2012

IdeaFestival Announces Pre-Festival Water Conference

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

IdeaFestival 2012 will kick off with a day-long conference about water--how we use it, what happens when there's not enough of it and how groups and countries are addressing the global water crisis.

Read more

Pages