Smokestack

WFPL's Erica Peterson has been reporting on pollution and energy in Louisville since 2011.

These issues are more important than ever as the city, state and region continue to grapple with the ramifications of fossil fuel use, rising temperatures and urban sprawl.

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Environment
12:00 pm
Tue September 2, 2014

Local Sierra Club Chapter Endorses Candidates, But Not in Senate or Louisville Mayoral Races

Alison Lundergan Grimes and Mitch McConnell
Credit Kentucky Secretary of State/U.S. Senate

The local chapter of the Sierra Club has released its candidate endorsements for this fall’s elections, and has declined to make picks in two key races: U.S. Senate and Louisville mayor.

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Environment
3:17 pm
Thu August 28, 2014

Harmful Algae Found in Five More Kentucky Lakes

McNeely Lake Park in Jefferson County is one of the latest lakes to be affected by harmful algal blooms.
Credit Louisville Metro Parks

Harmful algae blooms have been identified in several more Kentucky lakes, including two in Jefferson County and one in Oldham County. This brings the total number of affected lakes to 15.

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Environment
7:00 am
Wed August 27, 2014

Manufacturing Trade Group Targets Kentucky for Ads Opposing Future Ozone Standard

Credit Erica Peterson/WFPL

Kentucky is one of three states targeted by a new ad campaign opposing stricter federal standards on ozone.

Ozone is one of the pollutants that’s included in the National Ambient Air Quality Standards, which the Clean Air Act requires to be periodically reviewed and updated. A federal judge has ordered a draft of the revision by December, but the EPA hasn’t announced what the new standard will be.

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Environment
1:08 pm
Tue August 26, 2014

Louisville's Toxic Air Monitoring Program Stalls Amid Loss of Funding

Credit Erica Peterson / WFPL

A program to monitor toxic air pollutants in Louisville was suspended months ago, and future funding remains uncertain.

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Environment
12:47 pm
Mon August 25, 2014

Approval of W. Va. Surface Mine Renews Calls for Study of Health Effects

Credit Gabe Bullard / WFPL

A federal judge has ruled that the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers acted appropriately when it granted a permit for surface coal mining in West Virginia, and some are using the ruling to champion legislation introduced by Kentucky Congressman John Yarmuth.

The lawsuit argued the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers didn’t take into account several studies that found mountaintop removal mines have negative effects on human health, and contribute to problems like cancer and birth defects.

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Environment
2:45 pm
Thu August 21, 2014

Regulators Reach Landmark Deal to Reclaim Eastern Kentucky Surface Mines

Credit Gabe Bullard / WFPL

State regulators have reached a comprehensive settlement with an out-of-state coal operator to reclaim former mines in eight Eastern Kentucky counties.

Billionaire Jim Justice—who also owns the Greenbrier resort in West Virginia—has been cited by the state more than 400 times in the last two years for not taking appropriate measures to reclaim his coal mines. Under the terms of the agreement, Justice will pay $1.5 million in fines, and post $10.5 million in bonds.

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Environment
3:03 pm
Wed August 20, 2014

Louisville's Air District, Union, Nearing Settlement on Reorganization

Louisville skyline
Credit Wikimedia Commons

Louisville’s Air Pollution Control District is close to reaching a settlement with the union that represents 19 current employees over the agency’s reorganization.

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Environment
1:15 pm
Wed August 20, 2014

Louisville's Urban Heat Islands are Among Most Intense, Fastest-Growing in the U.S., Report Says

A satellite image showing surface temperatures in Louisville.
Credit Climate Central

A report released Wednesday by a climate change nonprofit has ranked Louisville among the top 10 U.S. cities with a serious urban heat island effect.

Urban heat islands are areas where cities are substantially hotter than surrounding rural areas. This is exacerbated by factors such as large swathes of paved surfaces and declining tree canopies.

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Environment
6:57 am
Wed August 20, 2014

Can a Kentucky Politician Win By Being Candid About Coal's Decline?

Credit Harry Schaefer / U.S. National Archives and Records Administration

Here’s an essential Kentucky political truth: politics and the state’s coal industry are intertwined.

That’s one of the reasons both of Kentucky’s Senate candidates—Republican Mitch McConnell and Democrat Alison Lundergan Grimes—have been nearly indistinguishable on the subject.

But coal’s fortunes in Kentucky have been declining for decades. 

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Environment
11:06 am
Tue August 19, 2014

Spill Near Cincinnati Dumps 5,000 Gallons of Oil Into Ohio River

The Cincinnati skyline from Kentucky across the Ohio Rier.
Credit Creative Commons

A spill at a power plant near Cincinnati dumped thousands of gallons of oil into the Ohio River late Monday night, but Louisville Water Company officials say they don’t think it’ll pose a risk to Louisville's water supply.

The spill at Duke Energy’s W.C. Beckjord Station spilled 5,000 gallons of fuel oil during a routine transfer. The Beckjord station, built in 1952, is an older power plant that burns both fuel oil and coal.

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