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
2:38 pm
Thu May 31, 2012

State Grants AEP Request to Withdraw Big Sandy Application

By Flickr user CM195902: http://bit.ly/KhOtGU

The Kentucky Public Service Commission has granted a request by American Electric Power to withdraw a pending application to retrofit the company's Big Sandy Power Plant in Lawrence County.

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Environment
6:00 pm
Wed May 30, 2012

Lawsuit Alleges Damages From "Whiskey Fungus"

The fungus is visible on Heaven Hill's Bardstown distillery
Shadle Wikimedia Commons

A lawsuit filed today in federal court alleges a black substance coating the homes of residents in some areas of Louisville is caused by whiskey distilling.

Attorney Bill McMurray says for years, residents have seen a black substance growing on metal surfaces, and it’s nearly impossible to remove.

“And it’s only recently been understood within the last couple of years what the actual cause for that blackening is, and it’s this particular fungus,” he said.

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Environment
3:00 pm
Wed May 30, 2012

AEP to Reconsider Alternatives to Coal at Eastern Kentucky Plant

By Flickr user CM195902: http://bit.ly/KhOtGU

American Electric Power may have changed its mind about the future of the coal-fired Big Sandy Power Plant in Eastern Kentucky. The company has an application pending with the Kentucky Public Service Commission to install pollution controls at the plant to continue burning coal.

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Environment
11:40 am
Tue May 29, 2012

MSHA Releases Report Into Death of Two Killed in 2011 Ohio County Mine Accident

Last year, 21 coal miners died in mining accidents, and eight of them were in Kentucky. I’ve reported on many of these deaths on our website and on the air, but most only after the fact.

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Local News
11:00 am
Tue May 29, 2012

Roads Closed Due to Trees, Flooding Across Louisville

Morning rain and flooding have closed streets across Louisville.

According to MetroSafe spokeswoman Jody Johnson, a water main break near the University of Louisville has exacerbated the flood conditions. The break is at Cardinal Boulevard, east of Floyd Street, and Johnson says workers from the Louisville Water Company are on site.

More news and closures:

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Local News
9:00 am
Tue May 29, 2012

Flash Flood Warning Declared for Jefferson County, Southern Indiana

Some road updates from our Facebook fans.

UPDATE 11:07am: The National Weather Service has revised its flash flood warning; it’s only in effect until 11:30am.

UPDATE 10:22am: Flooding at the University of Louisville prompted the cancellation of classes until 11:00am. Officials say they’ll decide soon about classes for the rest of the day.

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Local News
7:00 am
Tue May 29, 2012

Alltech Announces Prize for Best Eastern Kentucky Economic Development Plan

Eastern Kentucky, like much of Appalachia, is beset by high poverty and high unemployment, and the limited investment in the area from the state hasn’t changed the situation.

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Environment
6:00 am
Mon May 28, 2012

Kentucky State Parks Begins Energy Retrofit of Nine Western Kentucky Parks

Kentucky’s state parks system is two months into a major energy savings project at nine of its parks. The project is part of Governor Steve Beshear’s Initiative for Smart Government, which is designed to reduce government waste.

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Environment
6:00 am
Mon May 28, 2012

Influx of Insects Could Cause Problems for Tulip Poplars This Summer

An old pest is causing new problems in the Ohio River Valley. The tulip scale insect has always preyed on tulip poplar trees, but the past two years of mild winters mean there’s a much higher population than usual.

The tulip scale insect attaches to twigs on tulip poplar trees, sucks sap out of the bark and releases a clear, sticky sugary substance that’s commonly called “honeydew.” The honeydew is annoying—it falls onto lawns and cars—but the real danger is to the trees.

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Environment
2:48 pm
Thu May 24, 2012

EPA Hears Testimony on New Carbon Pollution Rule

The Environmental Protection Agency is in the midst of day-long hearings in Washington, D.C. and Chicago on proposed new standards from carbon pollution from power plants.

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