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.


3:00 pm
Mon November 4, 2013

What's Next for Energy in Kentucky and Beyond? A Conversation with Consultant James Clad.

James Clad

James Clad has a lot of opinions on the global energy industry. These days, he’s an international political risk consultant for the energy industry. He’s also a senior advisor for the Center for Naval Analyses and at Jane’s Defence and Cambridge Energy Research Associates. From 2002-2010, he was the U.S. deputy assistant secretary of defense for Asia.

Clad was in Louisville last month to address the Louisville Committee on Foreign Relations.

Read more
7:00 am
Sun November 3, 2013

Black Carbon Series: How Traffic Exhaust Affects Climate Change and Louisville's Health

Credit Creative Commons

Black carbon is linked to cardiac and respiratory problems. It contributes to climate change. And a primary source in Louisville and other cities is traffic exhaust.

This week, WFPL took an in-depth look at black carbon—where it's found and how it affects Louisville and beyond. In a project that took months of preparation, environment reporter Erica Peterson relied on air monitors and interviews with experts and community members. 

Read more
6:34 am
Fri November 1, 2013

In Black Carbon, Scientists Find a Major Source Behind Climate Change

Qannik, a polar bear at the Louisville Zoo.
Credit Kyle Shepherd/Louisville Zoo

Climate change is mainly caused by greenhouse gases, such as carbon dioxide. And the gases mainly come from sources like power plants and vehicle emissions. But scientists have found another major threat to the climate: black carbon particles from wood fires, diesel engines and practically everything else that's burned.

Carbon dioxide has long been the villain behind climate change. That's still the case, but new research suggests CO2 has a sidekick—black carbon.

Read more
6:43 am
Thu October 31, 2013

What Walks Through Louisville Reveal About Black Carbon Exposure

Interstate traffic in downtown Louisville.
Credit Creative Commons

In Louisville, a city bisected and ringed by interstate highways and in the midst of expanding its concrete infrastructure, it’s hard to get away from traffic pollution. Every day, cars and trucks belch out cocktails of gases and chemicals, such as arsenic, nitrogen dioxide and fine particles.

Read more
4:24 pm
Wed October 30, 2013

Report Says Most of the U.S.'s Coal Won't Be Profitable to Mine

Decumanus Wikimedia Commons

A new report says the amount of coal that’s economically recoverable in the United States has been vastly overblown. The report’s authors say public data shows that the supply has peaked in most of the country’s coal-producing states, including Kentucky.

Read more
6:33 am
Wed October 30, 2013

What Louisville Neighborhoods Are Affected by Traffic Exhaust? All of Them.

The Glaabs: Geoff, Charlotte, Cailin and Crystal.
Credit Erica Peterson/WFPL News

Louisville has always struggled with air pollution—from industrial parks and from the traffic-clogged highways. But while Metro Government's network of air monitors tests the air around the city, it’s harder to tell what residents are actually exposed to in their homes.

In the Portland neighborhood, I-64 rumbles past rows of shotgun houses, many with siding made grimy by the traffic exhaust. The highway is loud and dirty, but its pollution isn’t the primary concern for many residents.

Read more
8:00 am
Mon October 28, 2013

Louisville Trucking Company Plans Switch to Natural Gas Vehicles

A Louisville-based trucking company is planning to replace its entire fleet with natural gas-powered vehicles.

M&M Cartage—a trucking company that has most of its fleet in Louisville—has already begun switching its trucks from diesel to compressed natural gas. In four years, the company will have replaced all 120 of its older vehicles with CNG trucks.

Read more
3:09 pm
Fri October 25, 2013

McConnell Urges TVA to Keep Burning Coal at Kentucky Power Plant

The Paradise Fossil Plant
Tennesee Valley Authority

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell is calling on the Tennessee Valley Authority to keep burning coal at a Kentucky power plant.

Read more
11:08 am
Thu October 24, 2013

Louisville Makes Plans for City Trees, Hires Urban Forester

Credit Joseph Lord/WFPL

Louisville’s tree canopy is slowly increasing, due to private and public investment.

Mayor Greg Fischer announced Thursday that waste hauler EcoTech has upped its previous commitment to plant 1,000 trees in Louisville over the next decade.

Now, the company plans to plant 1,500 trees.

Fischer also announced the hiring of an urban forester for Louisville—Erin Thompson. She will  be responsible for creating a city-wide tree canopy assessment, and will also be involved in planting the trees announced Thursday.

Read more
4:42 pm
Wed October 23, 2013

Bluegrass Bioneers Returns to Louisville this Weekend


The Bluegrass Bioneers conference returns to Louisville this week. The local version of this national event is meant to emphasis nature as a solution to social and environmental problems.

This is the fifth year Louisville has held a local conference in conjunction with the national Bioneers event. Bluegrass Bioneers marries local talks and workshops with live-streaming of national speakers, as they address the main conference in California.

Read more