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
4:49 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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Environment
11:27 am
Wed June 6, 2012

Environmental Activists Occupy Hal Rogers' Office Over Mountaintop Removal

UPDATE 1:11pm: Seven protesters have been arrested from Hal Rogers' office. Activists in West Virginia Congressman Nick Rahall's office and Virginia Congressman Morgan Griffith's office were also arrested. According to the group's Twitter feed, those in the office of Tennessee Congressman Jimmy Duncan were given a warning.

Environmental activists are in Washington, D.C. this week for the 7th straight year, lobbying members of Congress to put an end to mountaintop removal.

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Environment
11:50 pm
Tue June 5, 2012

EPA Hears From Coal Supporters, Environmental Advocates at Frankfort Hearing

A coal supporter at the hearing. The back of her shirt reads "Power. Progress. Coal."
Erica Peterson WFPL

The Environmental Protection Agency is weighing public comments and considering whether to cement its objections to 36 Kentucky coal mine permits. The agency heard from both the coal industry and environmental activists in a hearing in Frankfort on Tuesday.

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Environment
9:00 am
Tue June 5, 2012

EPA Hearings on 36 Kentucky Mining Permits Begin Today

The Environmental Protection Agency is in Frankfort today for a hearing on mining permits.

The agency is here to take public comments on 36 specific water permits—which coal mines need in order to discharge waste into streams and other waterways. The EPA has objected to all of the permits, saying the Kentucky Division of Water didn’t provide a complete analysis of the potential damage the discharge could cause.

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Environment
6:03 pm
Mon June 4, 2012

Experts Say Beavers No Threat to St. Matthews Park

The beaver lodge in Draut Park.
Erica Peterson WFPL

The City of St. Matthews is struggling with how to deal with beavers that have made their home in a local park.

Ian Timothy is seventeen years old. He’s been coming to Draut Park—a small park behind Mall St. Matthews—for four years, watching the family of beavers. They’ve built a dam and lodge near a culvert.

He points to the lodge. “It kind of just looks like a pile of sticks, but they’re living in the lodge.”

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Environment
3:34 pm
Mon June 4, 2012

Speaker to Address Louisville's Rising Temperatures—and How to Fix the Problem

Tree lined 4th Street in Old Louisville.
Census Data Wikimedia Commons

Louisville has been growing warmer. In a list of the nation’s fifty largest cities monitored by professors at the Georgia Institute of Technology, Louisville’s core is warming at faster rates than the surrounding areas—and it’s doing so faster than any other large city in the country.

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Environment
6:14 am
Mon June 4, 2012

EPA to Hold Hearings This Week on Mining Permits

The Environmental Protection Agency is in Kentucky this week for two hearings on mining permits.

The state’s Division of Water issues permits to coal mines to discharge into waterways, but the EPA has the authority to review the permits. Over the past two years, the EPA has objected to 36 Kentucky permits.

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