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
2:33 pm
Mon January 13, 2014

Kentucky Wraps Up Third Year of Controversial Sandhill Crane Hunting Season

Kentucky’s third annual sandhill crane hunting season wrapped up yesterday and Fish and Wildlife officials are calling it a success.

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Environment
7:03 am
Mon January 13, 2014

In Owensboro, Coal Mine Opponents Use Unlikely Tools to Fight Proposed Mine

A view of some of the land that could be mined, as seen from the Pennyroyal Girl Scout Camp.
Erica Peterson WFPL

A court decision that's expected later this year could decide the fate of a proposed Western Kentucky surface coal mine, and potentially set a precedent for other mines in Daviess County. For the past two years, residents and environmental groups have been campaigning against the mine, arguing it will irreparably damage the environment and erode nearby residents’ quality of life. And they’re using a unique, and unexpected, tool to fight the mine.

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Environment
12:48 pm
Sat January 11, 2014

Black Leaf Testing Results for Heavy Metals Mostly Normal, But Questions Remain

Blood and urine tests on residents living near the former Black Leaf Chemical plant show mostly normal levels of two heavy metals. But there are still many unanswered questions.

Last year, University of Louisville researchers tested 53 people living near the Black Leaf site for lead and arsenic. The overall results show only two of those people had abnormal levels of arsenic in their urine, and none had abnormal levels of lead in their blood.

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Environment
12:06 pm
Fri January 10, 2014

In Wake of Polar Vortex, Let's Talk About Climate Change

Retreating ice, Punjack Jaya, Papua, 2011.
Keith Mountain

This week's polar vortex elicited comments on climate change from both sides of the aisle. Donald Trump and Rush Limbaugh were quick to suggest that the presence of cold weather debunks hundreds of thousands of years of climate data, while the

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Environment
10:44 am
Fri January 10, 2014

A Coal-Cleaning Chemical Spills in West Virginia, Prompting State of Emergency

Harry Schaefer U.S. National Archives and Records Administration

My former home of Charleston, West Virginia—as well as an nine county radius—is under a state of emergency today after an unknown amount of 4-Methylcyclohexane Methanol spilled into the Elk River. The river supplies drinking water to the area.

The spill happened at a chemical plant that manufactures a product used to wash coal at processing plants in the region. Now, as many as 100,000 people, and possible more, have been warned not to drink, cook or wash with their tap water.

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Environment
4:24 pm
Thu January 9, 2014

Obama Announces 'Promise Zone' Initiative, Including One in Southeastern Kentucky

Harry Schaefer U.S. National Archives and Records Administration

President Obama has announced a new federal initiative to increase economic development in five areas around the country, including southeastern Kentucky. The commonwealth’s “Promise Zone” will include eight counties (Bell, Clay, Harlan, Knox, Leslie, Letcher, Perry and Whitley), all coal-producing.

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Environment
3:34 pm
Tue January 7, 2014

LG&E, KU Set Energy Consumption Records During Monday's Cold Snap

Credit LG&E

Monday's cold weather set some new records for energy usage in Louisville Gas and Electric and Kentucky Utilities' service area. From a company news release:

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Environment
2:42 pm
Tue January 7, 2014

EPA Carbon Limits on New Power Plants Expected Tomorrow

Erica Peterson WFPL

The Environmental Protection Agency is scheduled to formally publish tomorrow a proposal to limit greenhouse gas emissions—namely, carbon dioxide—from power plants.

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Environment
2:35 pm
Mon January 6, 2014

Results from Blood Testing on Black Leaf Residents Will Be Released on Saturday

A sign on the fence surrounding the former Black Leaf Chemical site in Louisville's Park Hill neighborhood.

Researchers will release the overall results of blood testing on residents living close to a former pesticide plant in Louisville’s Park Hill neighborhood this weekend.

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Environment
7:30 am
Mon January 6, 2014

Study Concludes Carbon Dioxide Could be Stored in Eastern Kentucky's Geology

Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory demonstrated coal gasification in large-scale field experiments at the Rocky Mountain Test Facility near Hanna, Wyoming.
U.S. Department of Energy

The Kentucky Geological Survey has finished the second of two tests to determine whether  carbon dioxide could be stored underground in the commonwealth.

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