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 and son in Louisville.

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Environment
9:00 am
Fri June 29, 2012

6th Annual Sustainable Living Fair is Tonight

At the Frankfort Avenue Trolley Hop tonight, there’s an extra event.

Clifton Universalist Unitarian Church is sponsoring the 6th Annual Louisville Sustainable Living Fair. Terry Malone is one of the event’s organizers, and says sustainable living is a core part of the church’s mission.

“It doesn’t have to be difficult and it doesn’t have to be expensive,” he said. “There are a lot of little things that we all can do every day that collectively as a group, as a community, if we do those little things, they add up to a lot.”

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Environment
9:00 am
Wed June 27, 2012

Coalfields Newspaper Editorial: Stop Pointing Fingers, Start Working on Economic Diversification

An editorial published yesterday in the Hazard Herald of Perry County lays out a cogent view of where the economy of Eastern Kentucky is headed, as the coal industry shrinks and utilities begin transitions to cheaper natural gas.  The editors of the Ha

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Environment
5:50 pm
Tue June 26, 2012

Court Rules EPA Can Regulate Greenhouse Gases

The smokestacks at LG&E's coal-fired Cane Run power plant.
Erica Peterson WFPL

A federal court of appeals has ruled that the Environmental Protection Agency can regulate carbon emissions from vehicles and power plants.

A coalition of energy companies, manufacturers and individual states—including Kentucky and Indiana—challenged the rules in court. They argued that a core provision—the finding that greenhouse gases, like carbon dioxide are pollutants and pose a danger to human health—wasn’t based on science. And without that finding, they argued the federal government couldn’t set standards for vehicle and power plant carbon dioxide emissions.

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Environment
4:45 pm
Tue June 26, 2012

New Louisville Plant Equips Vehicles to Run on Natural Gas

A worker at the Westport plant installs a fuel system on a Ford truck.
Erica Peterson WFPL

Natural gas provides an increasingly large share of the country’s electricity. And now, the fuel is growing in popularity as an alternative to gasoline. A new Louisville plant is betting that natural gas as a vehicle fuel is a technology that will be around for decades or longer.

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Environment
2:50 pm
Tue June 26, 2012

ORSANCO: West Virginia Plant Can Release More Mercury Into Ohio River…Maybe

The Ohio River Valley Water Sanitation Committee has made a preliminary decision to allow a West Virginia plant to release more mercury than allowed by law into the Ohio River.

I covered this story in December, when ORSANCO was still accepting public comments on the waiver.

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Environment
1:39 pm
Tue June 26, 2012

LG&E Cited for Gas Safety Violations

The Kentucky Public Service Commission has cited Louisville Gas & Electric for safety violations that led to a natural gas explosion in December. The explosion in South Louisville destroyed a house, and the PSC determined that there were problems with LG&E's emergency response. The company was also cited for violations related to gas line pressure in the system.

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Environment
11:53 am
Tue June 26, 2012

Federal Appeals Court Upholds EPA Air Pollution Rules

The smokestacks at LG&E's coal-fired Cane Run power plant.
Erica Peterson WFPL

A federal court of appeals has ruled that the Environmental Protection Agency can regulate carbon emissions from vehicles and power plants. The court also upheld the agency’s scientific determination that greenhouse gases pose a danger to human health.

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Environment
11:08 am
Tue June 26, 2012

Incumbent Wins Shelby Energy Board Election

Earlier this month,  I wrote about Sonia McElroy. McElroy was vying for a seat on the board of Shelby Energy--an electricity cooperative that serves parts of Shelby, Trimble, Henry and Carroll counties. This was the first contested election in the co-op's history. It was being run according to the bylaws, but McElroy raised questions about whether the rules were fair and biased in favor of incumbents.

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Environment
5:17 pm
Mon June 25, 2012

Study Outlines Barriers to Wind Energy in Kentucky

A turbine at a Hawaii wind farm.
Harvey McDaniel Wikimedia Commons

Unlike its Appalachian neighbors, Kentucky has no large or small-scale wind farms. And a study says that’s only partly due to the state’s low wind potential.

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Environment
4:14 pm
Mon June 25, 2012

Pike County Miner Killed in Accident

A Pike County miner has died following an accident at the McCoy Elkhorn Coal Corporation's Mine No. 23 in Kimper. From the Kentucky Office of Mine Safety and Licensing:

Preliminary reports indicate 33-year-old Farley Sargent was laying track when a rib roll occurred. A rib roll is when a portion of the coal pillar wall falls into the corridor.

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