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
1:52 pm
Thu June 21, 2012

Want to Take a High-Speed Train to Atlanta?

A high speed train in Great Britain.
Uploaded by oxyman Wikimedia Commons

A consulting firm says a high-speed passenger rail line that connects Louisville with Nashville, Atlanta and Jacksonville, Florida could be feasible.

According to consulting firm HNTB, there's enough demand for the line, which could cost anywhere from $11 billion to $43 billion.

According to the Florida Times-Union:

Read more
Environment
12:17 pm
Thu June 21, 2012

Arch Coal Will Reportedly Lay Off 500 Miners in Eastern Kentucky

Eastern Kentucky news outlets are reporting that Arch Coal will lay off 500 miners across the region. 

Read more
Environment
3:47 pm
Wed June 20, 2012

California Reps to Kentucky Coal Operators: Pay Up

Two California representatives want three Kentucky coal operators to pay the more than $1.5 million in fines they owe the federal government.

Read more
Environment
1:49 pm
Wed June 20, 2012

WV Senator Votes Against Anti-EPA Resolution, KY Senators Don't Follow Suit

In an unexpected move, West Virginia Senator Jay Rockefeller addressed the Senate today to speak against a resolution that would register objection to the Environmental Protection Agency's upcoming restrictions on mercury emissions from power plants.

Read more
Environment
12:09 pm
Wed June 20, 2012

Yarmuth Co-Sponsors Bill to Study Health Risks Linked to Mountaintop Removal

A surface mine in Eastern Kentucky.
Gabe Bullard WFPL

Third District Congressman John Yarmuth has signed on to a bill that would require an analysis of the health effects of mountaintop removal coal mining. The bill would also put a moratorium on new mountaintop removal mines until the practice is proven to be safe.

Read more
Environment
10:29 am
Wed June 20, 2012

McConnell Speaks on Senate Floor On EPA Regulations, Big Sandy Power Plant

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell addressed the Senate this morning on the Environmental Protection Agency's Utility MACT (or Maximum Achievable Control Technology) Rule, which would require power plants to control emissions of mercury and other toxic substances. McConnell's press office's Twitter feed offered a preview of his remarks:

Read more
Environment
9:16 pm
Tue June 19, 2012

Report Analyzes Kentucky's Untapped Renewable Energy Potential

A new analysis of Kentucky’s energy potential shows renewable sources could provide more than a third of the state’s energy by 2025. It points to several renewable sources—including solar, hydro and biomass—that aren’t being tapped to their full potential.  

Read more
Environment
3:23 pm
Tue June 19, 2012

Judge Rules Eastern Kentucky Coal Company Illegally Fired Whistleblower

An Eastern Kentucky coal miner can return to work after a judge ruled he was unfairly fired from his job. The decision affirms the rights of coal miners to report unsafe working conditions without fear of retribution.

Charles Scott Howard was injured while working at a mine operated by Cumberland River Coal Company in Eastern Kentucky. The complaint alleges that even after he was cleared by doctors to return to work, the coal company took extreme steps to keep him from working.

Read more
Environment
2:52 pm
Tue June 19, 2012

State Officials Report Water Contamination at Laurel County State Park

According to the Associated Press:

Officials at a state park in eastern Kentucky are restricting some activities like swimming and feeding the ducks because of water contamination.

The contamination at Levi Jackson State Park has killed several fish. According to John Williams of the Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife, the fish kill was caused by excess nutrients in the water, like cow manure washing into streams.

The water’s oxygen levels are well below average and high temperatures and low water levels are complicating the problem.

Read more
Environment
12:45 pm
Tue June 19, 2012

High Ozone Levels Forecasted Wednesday

The Louisville Air Pollution Control District has issued an Air Quality Alert for tomorrow. Levels of ozone are forecasted to be high, and the air will be unhealthy for sensitive groups. The district recommends the elderly, the young and those suffering from heart or lung diseases stay indoors, if possible.

This is the eighth Air Quality Alert so far this year.

Pages