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
4:37 pm
Wed August 22, 2012

Mammoth Cave National Park Names New Superintendent

Sarah Craighead
National Park Service

Mammoth Cave National Park has named a new superintendent, and she is the first woman to serve in that capacity in the park’s history.

Sarah Craighead will replace Patrick Reed, who retired at the end of June. She’s currently the superintendent at Death Valley National Park, which straddles parts of California and Nevada. She’s also worked at national parks in Arizona, Oklahoma and Maine, among others.

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Environment
3:20 pm
Wed August 22, 2012

Does the Huge Kentucky-India Coal Deal Make Sense?

Coal on a barge in the Kanawha River in 1973.
Harry Schaefer U.S. National Archives and Records Administration

Last week, there was huge news for the coal industry. Kentucky coal producers signed a deal to export up to nine million tons of coal a year for the next 25 years, to the reported tune of $7 billion.

I’ve already covered why the deal is good news for struggling Appalachian coal producers (but not good enough news to turn the industry around), the extent of Rep. Keith Hall’s involvement, and what the increased coal exports could mean for the environment. But now I’m hearing conflicting opinions about why this deal actually happened in the first place, and whether or not it makes sense.

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Environment
2:11 pm
Wed August 22, 2012

My Morning Jacket Featured in National Campaign Against Mountaintop Removal

The members of Louisville rock band My Morning Jacket appear in a new campaign by non-profit Earthjustice that opposes mountaintop removal coal mining.

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Environment
11:49 am
Wed August 22, 2012

Unhealthy Air Expected to Linger Through Thursday

There's an Air Quality Alert in effect today, and the Air Pollution Control District has already predicted that ozone levels will also be high tomorrow.

The Air Quality Index is forecast to be 106, which is unhealthy for sensitive groups, like the elderly, the young and those with heart and lung conditions.

For air quality updates, call (502) 574-3319.

Environment
4:54 pm
Tue August 21, 2012

Court Strikes Down EPA Rule to Limit Cross-State Air Pollution

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

A three-judge panel has voted two to one to strike down a new rule from the Environmental Protection Agency that would require some states to reduce pollution that travels across state lines. This puts the EPA in a difficult position.

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Environment
11:23 am
Tue August 21, 2012

Unhealthy Smog Levels Expected Wednesday

The Louisville Air Pollution Control District is forecasting an unhealthy air day tomorrow, and has put an Air Quality Alert for ozone in effect.

The Air Quality Index is expected to be 104, which is unhealthy for sensitive groups.

For air quality updates, call (502) 574-3319.

Environment
10:13 am
Tue August 21, 2012

Study Finds Vitamin C May Help Reduce Air Pollution-Related Hospitalization

Scott Bauer, USDA Wikimedia Commons

Something that may be of interest to those who have had trouble breathing on some of Louisville's unhealthy air days this summer: increase your vitamin C intake.

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Environment
5:28 pm
Mon August 20, 2012

Inaugural Program in Library Series to Discuss Climate Change

The Louisville Free Public Library is launching a new series called "What's Next" to look at important issues coming up in the future. The first lecture in the series? A discussion about climate change.

From the news release:

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Environment
5:25 pm
Mon August 20, 2012

Nearly All of Kentucky is Now Officially a "Drought Disaster Area"

The U.S. Department of Agriculture has designated another 68 Kentucky counties, including Jefferson, as drought disaster areas.

With the new drought declaration, Bell, Harlan, Leslie and Perry counties are the only Kentucky counties not officially in a drought. These counties are all clustered in the southeast part of the state.

University of Kentucky meteorologist Matt Dixon says the drought has been months in the making.

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Environment
3:25 pm
Mon August 20, 2012

Fishery Capitalizing on Asian Carp Invasion Seeks to Expand into Kentucky

Fg2 Wikimedia Commons

An Illinois-based fishery is working to open a plant in western Kentucky to process large amounts of Asian carp into fertilizer and food. Asian carp is an invasive species, and has been slowly working its way toward the Great Lakes.

Schafer's--headquartered in Thompson, Illinois--is highlighted in a recent PBS story about Asian carp.

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