Robert Zullo

Robert Zullo

Robert spent 13 years as a reporter and editor at weekly and daily newspapers before becoming editor of the Virginia Mercury in 2018. He was a staff writer and managing editor at Worrall Community Newspapers in Union, N.J., before spending five years in south Louisiana covering hurricanes, oil spills and Good Friday crawfish boils as a reporter and city editor for the The Courier and the Daily Comet newspapers in Houma and Thibodaux. He covered Richmond city hall for the Richmond Times-Dispatch from 2012 to 2013 and worked as a general assignment and city hall reporter for the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette from 2013 to 2016. He returned to Richmond in 2016 to cover energy, environment and transportation for the Richmond Times-Dispatch. He grew up in Miami, Fla., and central New Jersey. A former waiter, armored car guard and appliance deliveryman, he is a graduate of the College of William and Mary. Contact him at [email protected]

Saying he now thinks racist photo isn’t of him, Northam says he won’t resign

By: and - February 2, 2019

The Virginia Democratic Party says Gov. Ralph Northam, the subject of an immense outcry over a racist photo that surfaced from his medical yearbook, will not step down, resisting calls for his resignation from virtually every state Democrat and many Republicans. “We made the decision to let Governor Northam do the correct thing and resign […]

House Republicans also call on Northam to step down

By: - February 2, 2019

Virginia House Republicans added their voices Saturday morning to the swelling chorus calling on Gov. Ralph Northam to step down in the wake of the publication of a racist photo from his medical school yearbook. House Speaker Kirk Cox, R-Colonial Heights, Majority Leader Todd Gilbert, R-Shenandoah, and other GOP leaders said in a statement they were […]

Panel OKs Rules for Using ‘Dangerous’ Room Dividers at Schools

By: - January 30, 2019

By Saffeya Ahmed/ Capital News Service On an afternoon last spring, Wesley Lipicky, a third-grader at Franconia Elementary School in Fairfax County, was helping his teacher in the gymnasium when he became caught between a motorized room partition and a gym wall. The 9-year-old boy suffered traumatic head injuries and died that night. On Monday, […]

Veteran GOP senator undecided about seeking re-election

By: - January 25, 2019

Sen. Frank Wagner, R-Virginia Beach, says he hasn’t made up his mind about whether he’ll seek re-election this year, when every seat in the state Senate and House of Delegates is up. “I’m weighing all my options,” he told a Mercury reporter Thursday. “I’ve made no decision.” Wagner, chairman of the powerful Senate Commerce and […]


After years of legislative wrangling, ‘peace in the valley’ on coal ash

By: - January 25, 2019

Republicans and Democrats, and perhaps most importantly, Dominion Energy, appear to have struck an accord that will ensure that some 30 million tons of coal ash at four sites around the state won’t be left to leak heavy metals and other contaminants into waterways. The deal was rolled out by Democratic Gov. Ralph Northam, Speaker […]


Another election-year GOP ploy on fossil fuel bill?

By: - January 24, 2019

A strange thing happened at the House Commerce and Labor Committee Tuesday. A sweeping and ambitious (probably overly so) bill by Del. Sam Rasoul, D-Roanoke, that would dramatically overhaul Virginia’s energy landscape made it out of the GOP-controlled committee over the fervent opposition of utilities and energy interests that generally hold lots of sway there. […]


In wake of compressor station vote, Northam’s order reconstitutes environmental justice advisory council

By: - January 23, 2019

After a vote on what had become Virginia’s most high-profile environmental justice issue — the contentious natural gas compressor station proposed for Buckingham County by Dominion Energy as part of its Atlantic Coast Pipeline  — Gov. Ralph Northam is reconstituting an advisory council that urged him last year to halt the project. The former members […]


Six senators vote against Northam’s pick to lead environmental agency

By: - January 22, 2019

Gov. Ralph Northam disappointed some members of his transition team and left environmental groups seething last year when he reappointed David Paylor to his longtime job as director of the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality. Business interests, including the state’s big utilities, chief among them Dominion Energy, like Paylor’s light touch with the regulatory powers […]

The State Corporation Commission

State Corporation Commission rejects billions in Dominion grid spending

By: - January 17, 2019

Proving it still has some teeth left despite the General Assembly’s best efforts, the State Corporation Commission has rejected billions in proposed spending by Dominion Energy it had sought permission to recover from its customers under the sweeping utility regulations signed into law last year. Though the commission did approve about $155 million in spending […]


After nearly year-long logjam, GOP ‘rams through’ State Corporation Commission pick with no Democratic support

By: - January 16, 2019

More than a year after Judge James Dimitri said he was stepping down from the State Corporation Commission, which regulates utilities, insurance, banking and other business interests, Republicans in the General Assembly muscled through a surprise pick to fill the last remaining year of his term in a single day with zero Democratic support. The […]

Dominion's power station in Chesterfield in Sept 2017.

How the conversation on coal ash has changed

By: - January 15, 2019

In an ideal world, we might expect agencies charged with protecting people and the environment to always do the right thing within the limits of the law regardless of who sits in the governor’s mansion. But because we live in the real world, of course, political leadership matters a great deal. Consider the history of […]

NC Policy Watch reposts Indian tribe pipeline story, with an apology

By: - January 9, 2019

EDITOR’S NOTE: The Mercury published a blog post here on Jan. 9 with a link to a NC Policy Watch story on settlement agreements with American Indian tribes related to the Atlantic Coast Pipeline. That story was taken down for review by the site’s editors and has now been reposted with a lengthy editor’s note […]