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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Today at 1
11:04 am
Wed July 4, 2012

Gas Planet: A Documentary About Natural Gas and Climate Change

Coming up at 1:00 this afternoon, WFPL will air "Gas Planet: The Impact of the Natural Gas Boom on Climate Change." This hour-long documentary produced by The Allegheny Front examines the rise of natural gas, fueled by low prices, abundant resources and a lower carbon footprint than coal.

Environment
4:05 pm
Tue July 3, 2012

Frequent Combined Sewer Overflows Continue in Jeffersonville

In the past three months, Jeffersonville has had eight combined sewer overflows, or CSOs. This is when water levels rise and the city’s sewer system releases untreated sewage and wastewater into the Ohio River so it doesn’t back up into people’s homes. The releases pollute the river and spread E. coli bacteria.

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Environment
12:16 pm
Tue July 3, 2012

Metro Goverment Predicts Unhealthy Air Tomorrow, Thursday

The Louisville Air Pollution Control District is forecasting unhealthy levels of ozone for Independence Day and July 5.

The high temperatures and lack of wind will trap pollution near the city, raising ozone levels. The city's air is expected to be a 122 on the Air Quality Index tomorrow, which is unhealthy for sensitive groups. It's predicted to be slightly lower on Thursday--a 116--but still unhealthy for sensitive groups. These are the 15th and 16th Air Quality Alerts of the summer.

Environment
5:39 pm
Mon July 2, 2012

Metro Goverment Installs New Pollution Filters on Some Diesel Equipment

This John Deere tractor was retrofitted with the grant.
Erica Peterson WFPL

Some vehicles in Louisville Metro Government’s diesel fleet are now equipped with new pollution controls. 

With more than $1.6 million in federal and state grants, Louisville Metro has retrofitted 90 pieces of diesel equipment. Air Pollution Control District director Lauren Anderson says the new pollution controls will greatly reduce the amount of pollution the equipment releases into the air.

“Diesel particulate filters can filter out 90 percent of the harmful particulate from diesel emissions,” she said. “Ninety percent.”

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Environment
12:57 pm
Fri June 29, 2012

Four Days of Bad Air Quality Forecasted for Louisville Metro

Louisville's Air Pollution Control District has issued air quality alerts for Friday, Saturday, Sunday and Monday. The heat wave is exacerbating pollution problems, and ozone levels each day are expected to be unhealthy for sensitive groups. Ozone levels today are forecasted to be unhealthy for everybody. 

From the APCD:  

Here are Air Quality Index forecasts:   

Friday, June 29--156 (unhealthy for everyone)

Saturday, June 30 – 150 (unhealthy for sensitive groups)

Sunday, July 1 – 150 (unhealthy for sensitive groups)

Environment
9:00 am
Fri June 29, 2012

6th Annual Sustainable Living Fair is Tonight

At the Frankfort Avenue Trolley Hop tonight, there’s an extra event.

Clifton Universalist Unitarian Church is sponsoring the 6th Annual Louisville Sustainable Living Fair. Terry Malone is one of the event’s organizers, and says sustainable living is a core part of the church’s mission.

“It doesn’t have to be difficult and it doesn’t have to be expensive,” he said. “There are a lot of little things that we all can do every day that collectively as a group, as a community, if we do those little things, they add up to a lot.”

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Environment
9:00 am
Wed June 27, 2012

Coalfields Newspaper Editorial: Stop Pointing Fingers, Start Working on Economic Diversification

An editorial published yesterday in the Hazard Herald of Perry County lays out a cogent view of where the economy of Eastern Kentucky is headed, as the coal industry shrinks and utilities begin transitions to cheaper natural gas.  The editors of the Ha

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Environment
5:50 pm
Tue June 26, 2012

Court Rules EPA Can Regulate Greenhouse Gases

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

A federal court of appeals has ruled that the Environmental Protection Agency can regulate carbon emissions from vehicles and power plants.

A coalition of energy companies, manufacturers and individual states—including Kentucky and Indiana—challenged the rules in court. They argued that a core provision—the finding that greenhouse gases, like carbon dioxide are pollutants and pose a danger to human health—wasn’t based on science. And without that finding, they argued the federal government couldn’t set standards for vehicle and power plant carbon dioxide emissions.

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Environment
4:45 pm
Tue June 26, 2012

New Louisville Plant Equips Vehicles to Run on Natural Gas

A worker at the Westport plant installs a fuel system on a Ford truck.
Erica Peterson WFPL

Natural gas provides an increasingly large share of the country’s electricity. And now, the fuel is growing in popularity as an alternative to gasoline. A new Louisville plant is betting that natural gas as a vehicle fuel is a technology that will be around for decades or longer.

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Environment
2:50 pm
Tue June 26, 2012

ORSANCO: West Virginia Plant Can Release More Mercury Into Ohio River…Maybe

The Ohio River Valley Water Sanitation Committee has made a preliminary decision to allow a West Virginia plant to release more mercury than allowed by law into the Ohio River.

I covered this story in December, when ORSANCO was still accepting public comments on the waiver.

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