Charlie Paullin

Charlie Paullin

Charles Paullin covers energy and environment for the Mercury. He previously worked for Northern Virginia Daily in the Northern Shenandoah Valley and for the New Britain Herald in central Connecticut. An Alexandria native, Charles graduated from the University of Hartford initially wanting to cover sports. He's received several Virginia Press Association awards for his coverage of crime, local government and state politics.

As smoke from Canada enters Virginia, research links climate change with more frequent wildfires

By: - June 12, 2023

Dan Salkovitz, a meteorologist with the Department of Environmental Quality, recalls being in North Carolina in 2002 standing on a deck, smoke filling the air and a fire engine whizzing around in search of the blaze. The local fire crew didn’t need to extinguish any actual flames, though; nothing nearby was causing the smoke. The […]

What’s next for the court cases challenging Mountain Valley Pipeline?

By: - June 9, 2023

Although the Mountain Valley Pipeline won fast-tracked approval from Congress last week, environmental groups are still exploring possible legal challenges to prevent it from moving forward. President Joe Biden on Saturday signed the Fiscal Responsibility Act, which includes a measure that directs federal agencies to approve permits within 21 days for the 303-mile natural gas […]

Virginia air board approves withdrawal from regional carbon market

By: - June 7, 2023

The State Air Pollution Control Board took its final step to withdraw Virginia from a regional carbon market, sending the action to Republican Gov. Glenn Youngkin’s office for final action, despite a majority of public commenters continuing to oppose the move.  Following a 30-minute closed session to discuss possible litigation against the decision, the board […]

Virginia wetlands protections remain robust despite Supreme Court ruling, say enviro groups

By: - June 6, 2023

Following a ruling from the U.S. Supreme Court that narrows environmental protections for wetlands, environmental groups say there will be little change in Virginia because of the state’s strong wetlands regulations. “Theoretically, Virginia has stronger water quality protection than the federal government,” said Peggy Sanner, Virginia director of the Chesapeake Bay Foundation. Under Virginia wetlands […]

Mountain Valley Pipeline approvals OKed as part of debt ceiling deal

By: - June 2, 2023

The controversial Mountain Valley Pipeline received federal support for completion Thursday after the U.S. Senate approved a debt ceiling deal that includes a provision requiring fast-tracked approvals for the project, despite opposition from some members of Virginia’s congressional delegation. Both the U.S. House of Representatives and Senate sent the Fiscal Responsibility Act, which prevents the […]

New federal tailpipe rules would put stricter limits on Virginia’s heavy truck emissions

By: - June 1, 2023

As Virginia continues down the road of speeding up the transition from gas-powered passenger vehicles to electric ones, new rules proposed by the federal government could also accelerate electrification of the state’s heavy trucks. This April, the Environmental Protection Agency proposed stricter tailpipe emissions limits for passenger vehicles as well as for heavy trucks. The […]

Appalachian Power to face new regulatory system

By: - May 30, 2023

Beginning this July, state regulators will review Appalachian Power Company’s rates and earnings every two years, following legislation that significantly changes how the utility is regulated in Virginia. Appalachian Power says it sought the legislation to reduce the impact of fluctuating electric rates on ratepayers and make the process of collecting costs and the profit […]

Virginia crab management committee recommends fall, spring catch limit increase

By: - May 25, 2023

A state committee on crab management is recommending increases to crab catch limits this fall and next spring but keeping in place the summer reductions instituted last year after surveys found the population had plummeted. The newest proposals follow the results of the 2023 Bay-wide Blue Crab Winter Dredge Survey, which found that the number […]

Dominion seeks to expand rate program designed to shift grid demand

By: - May 23, 2023

Data centers are knocking on Virginia’s door. Electric vehicles are becoming more prevalent. Both have high needs for electricity. As concerns over the electric grid’s ability to meet those demands increase, Dominion Energy is proposing to expand a program intended to incentivize customers to shift when they use electricity to lessen the load on the […]

The State Corporation Commission

Ratepayer alliance asks Va. governor, legislators to fill State Corporation Commission vacancies

By: - May 22, 2023

Almost two dozen large corporations and ratepayer advocates sent a letter to the governor’s office and the General Assembly calling for action to fill two vacancies on the State Corporation Commission that have existed for months because of a political stalemate. The Virginia Ratepayer Protection Alliance, a group that includes Google, Amazon Web Services, the […]

Natural gas industry says no need for state methane emission regulation

By: - May 18, 2023

Members of Virginia’s natural gas industry say there’s no need for the state to impose its own regulations to reduce emissions of methane, a potent greenhouse gas that can leak from gas pipes and is a significant contributor to climate change. Methane reductions “are likely to be accomplished through the upcoming federal rules,” said Stephen […]

Three Virginia electric co-ops ask to make community solar programs permanent

By: - May 16, 2023

As Virginia moves to decarbonize its electric grid by midcentury, some of its electric utilities that don’t get as much attention as Dominion Energy and Appalachian Power Company are seeking to make their community solar programs permanent. Rappahannock Electric Cooperative, Northern Neck Electric Cooperative and A&N Electric Cooperative, which serves Virginia’s portion of the Eastern […]