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
5:46 pm
Mon June 11, 2012

Public Hearing Tomorrow on Pending Permits for Mill Creek Power Plant

Louisville's Air Pollution Control District will hold a public hearing tomorrow to let residents weigh in on two pending air pollution permits.

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Environment
5:36 pm
Mon June 11, 2012

Grassroots Website Launches to Update Bowman Field Residents About Tree Proposal

According to Plea for the Trees, these massive oaks along Valletta Road in Seneca Gardens are threatened by the Bowman Field Proposal.
Michael Hayman Plea for the Trees

Residents living near Bowman Field have launched a new website to relay information about a proposal to trim or remove some of the area’s largest trees.

Last year, the Regional Airport Authority announced a plan to trim or remove some of the largest trees near Bowman Field to comply with new federal aviation regulations. Neighborhoods like Seneca Gardens and Kingsley have lots of old trees, and residents were concerned about what the trimming would do to the value of their property —as well as on air and noise pollution.

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Environment
6:55 am
Mon June 11, 2012

Candidate for Energy Co-Op Board Says Bylaws are Unfair

Members of an electric cooperative in Shelby, Henry, Trimble and Carroll counties will vote soon in the co-op's first ever contested election for board members. But one of the candidates has encountered problems in every step of the process.

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Environment
2:25 pm
Fri June 8, 2012

Alpha Natural Resources Will Close Four Mines in Eastern Kentucky

One of the nation’s largest coal companies has announced it will be closing several mines and preparation plants in Eastern Kentucky.

Alpha Natural Resources will stop mining coal at four mines in Martin and Pike counties and idle two preparation plants. The company has enough jobs at other locations to reassign 286 employees, but about 150 will lose their jobs.

Alpha spokesman Ted Pile says the move is necessary.

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Environment
11:13 am
Fri June 8, 2012

LG&E Seeks Rate Increase, Citing Infrastructure Investments

Erica Peterson WFPL

Louisville Gas and Electric will request a rate increase later this month from the Kentucky Public Service Commission.

The company is proposing an increase of about seven percent for both electric and gas base rates. If it’s approved, it will raise the typical residential customer’s bill by about $10.65 per month beginning next year.

LG&E spokeswoman Chris Whelan says the rate increase is necessary for the company to recover money it has invested in the system.

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Environment
5:28 pm
Thu June 7, 2012

Report Ranks Three Kentucky Power Plants Among Nation's Biggest Polluters

Erica Peterson WFPL

Three Kentucky coal-fired power plants are named among the biggest polluters in the nation in a new report.

The Environmental Integrity Project analyzed the fifty-one U.S. power plants that emit the highest levels of sulfur dioxide and nitrogen oxide, which have been linked to premature deaths from heart and lung disease.

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Environment
4:49 pm
Thu June 7, 2012

High Ozone Levels, Unhealthy Air Predicted Friday

The Air Pollution Control District has issued an Air Quality Alert for tomorrow. Ozone levels are forecasted to be high, and unhealthy for sensitive groups including the elderly, the young, and anyone with heart or lung ailments.

This is the fifth air quality alert Metro Government has called this year, but so far none of the alerts have actually resulted in a day of unhealthy air. Spokesman Tom Nord says the Air Pollution Control District tends to err on the side of caution.

Environment
4:08 pm
Thu June 7, 2012

Government Files Lawsuit Against Kentucky Coal Operators

The federal government has filed a lawsuit against seven Eastern Kentucky coal companies, alleging the companies discharged waste into nearby valleys and streams without a permit.

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Environment
6:26 pm
Wed June 6, 2012

Coal Less Important Than Ever to American Energy Generation

Erica Peterson WFPL

A common misconception about coal in America is that it accounts for most of the nation’s electricity generation.

Coal’s importance to the nation’s energy mix is indisputable. But that influence is on the decline, and is dropping fast. Even so, the new data has yet to be embraced by politicians intent on reinforcing Kentucky’s coal industry.

Here’s Western Kentucky state Representative Brent Yonts at a recent public hearing in Frankfort.

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Environment
2:12 pm
Wed June 6, 2012

Four Reasons Beavers Are a Boon to Your Park

Steve Wikimedia Commons

Earlier this week I went to St. Matthews for a story about beavers that have made their home in Draut Park. City council members had initially had concerns about the beavers.

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