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.


6:46 am
Mon December 2, 2013

New Appalachian Fellowship Program Aims to Rebuild Region's Economy


A new fellowship program will begin next year, aiming to help communities in Central Appalachia rebuild their economies.

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2:07 pm
Wed November 27, 2013

Officials Hope Clean Up at Homes Near Black Leaf Plant Will Be Finished by End of Year

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

State and federal crews are making progress cleaning up homes contaminated by the old Black Leaf Chemical plant in Louisville’s Park Hill neighborhood.

The Black Leaf plant was home to many companies during the 20th century, including several that produced pesticides. In 2011, high levels of heavy metals and pesticides were discovered in the site’s soil. Later, residential testing revealed the dangerous chemicals had migrated to nearby homes.

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3:31 pm
Wed November 20, 2013

Swiss Chemist Wins Inaugural Conn Prize for Solar Cell Discovery

Michael Graetzel
University of Louisville

The University of Louisville has announced the winner of the first Leigh Ann Conn Prize for Renewable Energy. The award goes to Swiss chemist Michael Graetzel for his work developing a new kind of solar cell that’s easier and less expensive to produce than traditional silicon-based cells.

The Leigh Ann Conn Prize was announced last year.   It honors game-changing work in renewable energy and energy efficiency.

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12:30 pm
Tue November 19, 2013

Eastern Kentucky Coal Production, Employment Declines Again in Third Quarter

Decumanus Wikimedia Commons

Kentucky’s coal production and employment both dropped during the third quarter of this year, and once again the state’s eastern coalfields recorded the biggest loss, according to the latest quarterly coal report.

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2:46 pm
Fri November 15, 2013

EPA Approves Changes to Kentucky's Selenium Standard

Gabe Bullard WFPL

The federal government has signed off on a controversial proposal to change the way Kentucky measures selenium pollution in state waterways. The Environmental Protection Agency sent a letter with its decision today.

Selenium is a naturally-occurring substance that's released into waterways during strip mining. In large amounts, it's toxic to both aquatic life and humans. The substance also bioaccumulates up the food chain, so as fish eat other fish, levels of selenium rise.

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5:24 pm
Thu November 14, 2013

Mitch McConnell Claims Influence in Coal Decision That Was Already Made

Credit File photo

Senator Mitch McConnell is touting his role in a recent decision to keep burning coal at a Western Kentucky power plant, even though less coal will be burned—and the decision to keep burning the remainder was made months ago.

The Tennessee Valley Authority Board of Directors voted Thursday to convert two of the three coal-burning units at its Paradise Fossil Plant in Muhlenberg County to natural gas. The third unit will remain coal-fired.

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6:40 am
Thu November 14, 2013

Who Wants to Transport Natural Gas Liquids Through Kentucky? Two Companies are Asking.

The proposed route for the Bluegrass Pipeline.

It’s open season for hunting Kentucky deer—and apparently for Kentucky pipelines as well.

Right now, there are two proposed pipelines that would carry natural gas liquids through Kentucky. One of these is the Bluegrass Pipeline, a joint venture between Williams and Boardwalk Partners. The proposal involves 500 miles of new construction through Kentucky and Ohio to carry hydrocarbons from natural gas drilling (materials like ethane, butane and propane) to processing plants on the Gulf of Mexico.

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10:00 am
Wed November 13, 2013

LG&E Agrees to Pay $113,000 for Coal Ash, Odor Violations at Cane Run Plant

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

Louisville Gas and Electric and the Air Pollution Control District have reached an agreement over violations at the company’s Cane Run Power Station. Under the deal, LG&E will pay $113,250 to the Air Pollution Control District, as well as continue implementing a compliance plan at Cane Run to prevent future violations.

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4:40 pm
Tue November 12, 2013

Report: Climate Change Effects are Already Felt in the Southeast U.S., and Will Worsen

A new report says climate change and variability is already affecting 11 southeastern states, including Kentucky, and it’s projected to worsen over the next two decades.

The report released by non-profit Climate Nexus represents the work of more than 100 scientists from various governmental and private organizations. It’s a comprehensive look at the effect climate change will have—and is already having—on the region.

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6:14 am
Mon November 11, 2013

Louisville's New Roots is Finalist for TEDx Manhattan

Volunteers at New Roots' Shawnee Fresh Stop this summer.
Erica Peterson WFPL News

A Louisville non-profit is competing with four others from around the nation to give a public TED-style talk in Manhattan next year.

There are five finalists in the TEDx Manhattan challenge. All are non-profits, and all deal with issues of food inequality and access to healthy foods. And whichever group wins the popular vote will deliver a talk in New York City next March.

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