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
6:30 am
Mon January 14, 2013

Lung, Colon Cancer Rates Higher Near Rubbertown Than Other Louisville Neighborhoods

Data from the Kentucky Cancer Registry. There's a significant difference in rates when the 95% confidence intervals don't overlap.
Erica Peterson WFPL

A new analysis shows that certain cancers are more prevalent in areas near the Rubbertown neighborhood in west and southwest Louisville. But it’s impossible to determine what role—if any—pollution from nearby industries plays in the elevated cancer rates.

Everyone in Rubbertown knows someone with cancer. But are people in these neighborhoods actually more likely to get cancer than other Louisville residents? I called someone who should know: Dr. Tom Tucker, the head of the Kentucky Cancer Registry.

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Environment
1:51 pm
Sun January 13, 2013

Louisvillians Rally in Support of Indigenous "Idle No More" Campaign

Courtesy of Thomas Pearce

Over the past several months, indigenous groups in Canada have been banding together to protest the alleged eroding of their tribal rights. Under the name "Idle No More," the group has been holding rallies and protests across Canada and internationally. Louisville supporters of the movement held their own flash mob in solidarity yesterday at Mid City Mall. Judging from a video posted here, they had a pretty good-sized crowd.

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Environment
6:30 am
Fri January 11, 2013

Rubbertown Odor a Nuisance, But is it Illegal? Hard to Tell

In Rubbertown, industrial and residential areas coexist.
Erica Peterson WFPL

All of the major factories in Louisville's Rubbertown area have permits that allow them to put specific amounts of certain chemicals into the air. But when residents report unpleasant smells, it’s hard to know where they’re coming from and whether a factory is violating its permit.

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Environment
4:14 pm
Thu January 10, 2013

Report Suggests Problems With Placement of Mine Impoundments in WV

The federal Office of Surface Mining and Reclamation has released the results of an analysis of West Virginia coal mine impoundments which could have implications for Kentucky.

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Environment
5:07 pm
Wed January 9, 2013

Comer Criticizes EPA's Role in Floyds Fork Rehabilitation

File photo

Kentucky’s Commissioner of Agriculture is worried that a process to map pollution in the Floyds Fork watershed could end up having lasting effects on agriculture policy.

James Comer expressed his concerns about the Environmental Protection Agency on Facebook and in a statewide agriculture newsletter. Here’s what he said on Facebook:

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Environment
6:30 am
Wed January 9, 2013

Air Issues Plague Park DuValle, One of Louisville's Newest Planned Communities

In the late 1990s, Louisville spent nearly $200 million revitalizing a blighted area on the West End. Park DuValle emerged—and has since been nationally-recognized as a model mixed-income community. But one thing the city couldn't change was the neighborhood's location. And like the housing projects that stood before it, Park DuValle is next to Louisville’s industrial area. Residents say the odors in the air are often unbearable.

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Environment
6:30 am
Mon January 7, 2013

Louisville's Air Program Marks Successes, But Health Concerns Linger

A scene off of Bells Lane, in Rubbertown
Erica Peterson WFPL

Trish Lee’s small yellow house is a block away from Bells Lane, where many of the Rubbertown factories are concentrated. From her backyard, she can’t see the chemical plants, rail yards and oil refineries that have stood down the street for decades — but she can smell them just about anywhere.

“Sometimes it burns,” she said. “Like you can go outside, sometimes at night, and your eyes actually burn.”

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Environment
2:52 pm
Sun January 6, 2013

Starting This Week: A Series on Health Near Rubbertown

Erica Peterson WFPL

Starting this week, WFPL will begin airing a month-long series about past and present air pollution in the city’s Rubbertown neighborhood, and the health effects for those who live nearby. Installments will air during Morning Edition, Here and Now and All Things Considered every Monday, Wednesday and Friday, and will be posted here on Smokestack when they air.

Environment
3:13 pm
Fri January 4, 2013

Alpha Natural Resources Will Lay Off 200 Coal Miners in Eastern Kentucky

Decumanus Wikimedia Commons

Coal company Alpha Natural Resources announced today it will idle four underground mines in Harlan and Letcher counties. Two hundred miners will lose their jobs, while about sixty people will be moved to other positions or other mines.

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Environment
3:21 pm
Wed January 2, 2013

Kentucky Utilities to Pay Millions For Alleged Clean Air Act Violations

Erica Peterson/WFPL

Kentucky Utilities will spend $57 million to install updated pollution control equipment and pay civil penalties under the terms of a proposed consent decree.

The money will go to installing a sulfuric acid mist emission control system at the company’s Ghent power plant, replace a coal-fired boiler and pay $300,000 in fines to the Environmental Protection Agency.

Here’s what the EPA said about the settlement in a news release:

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