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
3:31 pm
Tue August 28, 2012

Federal Government Unveils New Stricter Fuel Standards for Cars, Small Trucks

The Ford Escape, which is manufactured in Louisville.

The Obama Administration has announced new fuel economy standards for cars and small trucks that will go into effect in five years.

Starting in 2017, cars and light trucks will have to be more fuel efficient than they are now. By 2025, the average car’s fuel economy will be 54.5 miles per gallon.

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Local News
12:56 pm
Mon August 27, 2012

TARC Increases Frequency of 4th Street Buses

WFPL File Photo

The Transit Authority of River City is ramping up service in and around downtown.

TARC is increasing the frequency buses arrive and depart along the entire length of 4th Street in downtown Louisville.

North of Central Ave, the 4th Street bus will run every 10 minutes from 6am to 9pm. South of Central, it will run every 20 minutes.

The new schedule has been in effect since August 12. TARC Executive Director Barry Barker says this comes on the heels of increasing the frequency of the number 18 and 23 buses last year.

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Environment
12:32 pm
Mon August 27, 2012

Louisville's Air Exceeded Ozone Standard Three Days Last Week

The Louisville Metro area is coming off of a string of bad air quality days, in which ozone levels were high enough to be unhealthy for many people. But relief may be on the horizon.

There were four consecutive air quality alerts called last week, but ozone levels were only high enough to exceed the federal standard on three of those days: Thursday, Friday and Saturday.

Air Pollution Control District spokesman Tom Nord says the weather could be tricky to predict this week, but it seems likely Louisville’s ozone levels will remain normal for now.

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Environment
12:07 pm
Mon August 27, 2012

Database Charts Information From Largest Emitters of Carbon Dioxide

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

Wondering how much carbon dioxide is being emitted in your country, state, county or Congressional district? I  just came across a cool database produced by CARMA (Carbon Monitoring for Action) that has all of that information.

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Environment
8:05 am
Mon August 27, 2012

New Mammoth Cave Superintendent Excited to Return to Kentucky

National Park Service

The National Park Service has appointed a new superintendent for Mammoth Cave National Park, near Bowling Green.

Sarah Craighead has worked at Mammoth Cave National Park before…but that was in 1979. She grew up near the park, and credits it with getting her started in the park system.

Since then, she’s headed up parks in Oklahoma and Arizona. She’s currently the superintendent of Death Valley National Park, and has also worked in parks in Maine and Virginia.

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Environment
3:00 pm
Sun August 26, 2012

Pollution Controls at Power Plants Create Greater Demand for Limestone

Hillside Basic's quarry in Battletown, Ky.
Erica Peterson WFPL

The need for more sophisticated pollution controls at power plants as led to an increased demand for limestone. And a quarry in Meade County has installed new equipment to meet that demand.

Power plants have to reduce sulfur dioxide emissions, and one popular way of doing that is running it through layers of crushed limestone mixed with water. The sulfur dioxide bubbles through the high-calcium limestone, and doesn’t go out the smokestack.

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Environment
2:25 pm
Fri August 24, 2012

Elevated Smog Levels are Expected Saturday

The Air Pollution Control District is forecasting high levels of ozone on Saturday. This marks the fourth consecutive day of Air Quality Alerts: there's already an alert in place today, and alerts were issued on Wednesday and Thursday. The air turned out to be normal on Wednesday, but ozone levels were slightly elevated yesterday.

So far this year, there have been 26 air quality alerts, but not all of those days have actually resulted in bad air.

Environment
5:47 pm
Thu August 23, 2012

LG&E Trespasses in Cane Run Neighborhood

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

Several residents near the Cane Run Power Station are angry after Louisville Gas & Electric employees walked onto their property without permission to collect dust samples off their homes.

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Environment
3:10 pm
Thu August 23, 2012

Judge Rules TVA is Responsible for 2008 Coal Ash Spill

An aerial view of the coal ash spill on December 23, 2008.
Tennessee Valley Authority

A federal judge has ruled that the Tennessee Valley Authority is responsible for a massive coal ash spill near Knoxville in 2008.

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Environment
11:59 am
Thu August 23, 2012

High Ozone Levels Expected Today, Tomorrow

Louisville's string of forecasted bad air days continues tomorrow with another Air Quality Alert--for the third consecutive day this week.

Elevated levels of ozone were also predicted yesterday (even though there was no actual ozone exceedence) and there's an Air Quality Alert in effect today. Tomorrow, the Air Quality Index is forecast to be 101, which is unhealthy for sensitive groups.

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