Robert Zullo

Robert Zullo

Robert spent 13 years as a reporter and editor at weekly and daily newspapers and was previously editor of the Virginia Mercury. 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. Contact him at [email protected]

Virginia Mercury

Virginia’s unemployment rate hits lowest level in 11 years

By: - October 19, 2018

Virginia’s unemployment rate fell for the third month in a row, hitting the lowest number since 2007, Gov. Ralph Northam’s administration announced. “The September 2018 seasonally adjusted unemployment rate for Virginia was down 0.7 percentage point from a year ago and is the lowest rate since the June 2007 rate of 2.9 percent,” Northam’s office […]


Virginia’s pipeline projects and the aura of inevitability

By: - October 18, 2018

This week, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission gave Dominion Energy permission to begin cutting down trees in Buckingham County to clear the way for a massive compressor station the company wants to build as part of its Atlantic Coast Pipeline. FERC’s letter Tuesday allows “non-mechanized” tree-felling — that means using handheld chainsaws — at the […]

A solution for nitrogen pollution?

By: - October 12, 2018

Nitrogen pollution from fertilizer runoff is one of the main sources of low oxygen “dead zones” in the Chesapeake Bay. And it’s a problem throughout the world, as the modern agriculture that sustains human life is itself dependent on commercially-produced nitrogen fertilizers. “Humans have nearly doubled Earth’s natural flow of fixed nitrogen, overwhelming the capacity […]


Redistricting theatrics expose our electoral absurdities

By: - October 12, 2018

A filing last month by Virginia Republicans, part of an attempt to defend their pick for a “special master” to help a federal court redraw 11 House of Delegates districts ruled to be racially gerrymandered, contained a striking passage. “Drawing near-even splits of Republican and Democratic voters into the same districts means nearly half the voters in […]

State of emergency declared as Michael’s remnants barrel into Virginia

By: - October 11, 2018

Gov. Ralph Northam has declared a state of emergency in anticipation of severe weather from the remnants of Hurricane Michael, which made landfall Wednesday on the Florida panhandle. “As Tropical Storm Michael turns to the commonwealth, I want to urge all Virginians to prepare for the serious possibility of flash floods, tropical storm force winds, […]


Report takes a dim view of Dominion’s grid ‘transformation’

By: - October 8, 2018

A report released by a new California nonprofit that advises on modernizing electric systems takes a generally dim view of  Dominion Energy’s plans to upgrade Virginia’s grid under the expansive and expensive regulatory overhaul the utility pushed through the General Assembly this year: the Grid Transformation and Security Act. “Grid modernization offers many potential benefits […]

Mountain Valley Pipeline loses permission to cross Virginia waterways

By: - October 5, 2018

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has suspended a permit allowing the Mountain Valley Pipeline to cross hundreds of Virginia streams and wetlands, The Roanoke Times reports. The action comes three days after a similar permit for West Virginia water crossings was vacated by the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals. Advocates are calling for […]

Speaker of the House of Delegates, Kirk Cox, R-Colonial Heights, stands in the chamber. (Ned Oliver/Virginia Mercury)

GOP leader cancels redistricting floor session

By: - October 5, 2018

Virginia House of Delegates Speaker Kirk Cox, R-Colonial Heights, canceled a floor session scheduled for Oct. 21 and 22 after Gov. Ralph Northam, a Democrat, announced plans to veto a Republican-drafted map to fix 11 House districts a court has ruled were racially gerrymandered. Cox filed a status report with the Eastern District Court “noting […]


Northam’s energy plan met with acclaim, but how much will it push the envelope?

By: - October 3, 2018

Gov. Ralph Northam put out his administration’s energy plan Tuesday, a non-binding planning document that lays out a vision for the next decade of energy policy in Virginia. But it was met with some effusive praise by environmental groups and renewable energy and energy-efficiency interests. “This plan represents the first time in Virginia history a […]


Court vacates U.S. Army Corps of Engineers permit for Mountain Valley Pipeline

By: - October 2, 2018

The latest big pipeline decision out of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 4th Circuit in Richmond strips the Mountain Valley Pipeline of its federal authority to cross waterways in West Virginia, and opponents contend, should halt work along the entire 300-mile route from West Virginia to Pittsylvania County. “Because the MVP’s certificate from […]


Pipeline’s federal review is looking a lot less ‘thorough and exhaustive’

By: - September 26, 2018

The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission may have to soon figure out how to paper over another defect in the federal permitting process for the Atlantic Coast Pipeline. Environmental groups asked FERC Tuesday for another stop-work order on the 600-mile, Dominion Energy-led project after the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 4th Circuit in Richmond issued […]

New report says Virginia could be a leader in coming offshore wind boom

By: - September 19, 2018

A new report says Virginia’s port infrastructure, experienced maritime workforce and geographical advantages make it an ideal candidate for becoming a hub for the East Coast offshore wind supply chain. The report, by BVG Associates and commissioned by Virginia’s Sierra Club chapter, says the window for action won’t be open forever, however. “A number of […]