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
4:05 pm
Wed May 23, 2012

EPA Raises Concerns About LG&E Plan For Trimble County Coal Ash Landfill

LG&E's Trimble County power plant.

The Environmental Protection Agency has concerns about the environmental impact of a 218-acre coal ash landfill in Trimble County proposed by Louisville Gas and Electric.

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Environment
12:01 am
Wed May 23, 2012

New Rankings Say Louisville's Parks System Needs Work

Louisville has scored near the bottom on a new ranking of park systems in the nation’s 40 largest cities. The city came in 38th.

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Politics
10:16 pm
Tue May 22, 2012

McGarvey Wins Democratic Nod in 19th District Senate Race

Morgan McGarvey has won the Democratic nomination for Kentucky’s 19th Senate district.

McGarvey is an attorney in private practice in Louisville who ran on a platform of building the Ohio River Bridges Project and expanding the state’s tax base. During the campaign, he racked up endorsements from former State Auditor Crit Luallan, Attorney General Jack Conway, and state Senator Tim Shaughnessy, who currently holds the seat and isn’t running for re-election. McGarvey’s website also touts his support of biodiesel.

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Environment
5:35 pm
Tue May 22, 2012

Kentucky Advocates for Safe Chemical Bill Lobby in Washington

Advocates for safe chemical legislation are in Washington D.C. today lobbying Kentucky’s congressional delegation to support updates to the nation’s toxic chemicals regulations.

Monica Unseld is a biologist and professor from Bardstown who made the trip. She says the country’s 36-year-old Toxic Substances Control Act is outdated and the industry is woefully unregulated.

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Environment
3:00 pm
Tue May 22, 2012

Councilman David James Asks EPA to Address Black Leaf Contamination With Community

District 6 Councilman David James is requesting the Environmental Protection Agency hold a public meeting to address recent soil testing near the Black Leaf Chemical site.

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Environment
4:30 pm
Mon May 21, 2012

EPA Finds Contamination in All Homes Tested Near Black Leaf Site

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

Soil testing in the yards of fifty homes bordering the former Black Leaf Chemical site in Louisville’s Park Hill neighborhood has revealed levels of carcinogens in all of them. And nine of those homes had even higher levels of contamination.

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Environment
11:00 am
Mon May 21, 2012

Energy Talk Rescheduled

Former Assistant Secretary for Policy in the U.S. Department of Energy Sue Tierney was scheduled to speak in Louisville tonight at 6:30, but bad weather on the east coast has forced a cancellation.

I spoke with Tierney last week about sustainable energy, as well as coal’s future in the United States’ energy mix and differences between Chinese and American energy policies.

Environment
5:30 pm
Fri May 18, 2012

High Ozone Levels Expected This Weekend

Louisville Metro Government has issued the season’s first air quality alert .

The threshold for calling an alert is 101 on the Air Quality Index, which measures air pollution on a scale of 0 to 500. The ozone level is forecasted to be 104 this weekend.

APCD spokesman Tom Nord says the weather, rather than unexpected pollution, prompted this weekend’s alert.

Environment
11:30 am
Fri May 18, 2012

EPA Releases Results of Soil Testing to Black Leaf Chemical Site Neighbors

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

The Environmental Protection Agency has sent letters to homeowners in Louisville’s Park Hill neighborhood who live near the former Black Leaf Chemical site and had their soil tested earlier this year.

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Environment
11:14 am
Fri May 18, 2012

Former Federal Energy Official Says U.S. Needs a Balanced Energy Mix

Coal-producing states like Kentucky are warily eying federal regulations that have begun moving the country away from fossil fuels.

Even so, Sue Tierney says she thinks coal will be around for awhile, though it will be cleaner and make up less of the nation’s energy mix. Tierney was the Assistant Secretary for Policy in the U.S. Department of Energy under President Bill Clinton. She’s giving a talk on what she calls “sustainable energy” in both the U.S. and China next week.

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