Author

Sarah Vogelsong

Sarah Vogelsong

Sarah is the Mercury's environment and energy reporter, covering everything from utility regulation to sea level rise. Originally from McLean, she has spent over a decade in journalism and academic publishing and previously worked as a staff reporter for Chesapeake Bay Journal, the Progress-Index and the Caroline Progress. She is the recipient of a first place award for explanatory reporting from the Society of Environmental Journalists and has twice been honored by the Virginia Press Association as "Best in Show" for online writing. She was chosen for the 2020 cohort of the Columbia Energy Journalism Initiative and is a graduate of the College of William and Mary. Contact her at [email protected]

A ferry passes the General Dynamic shipyard in Norfolk. (Ned Oliver/Virginia Mercury)

$320 million headed to Norfolk Harbor, flood protection projects

By: - January 20, 2022

Norfolk will receive $320 million in federal funds to deepen and widen its harbor as well as construct a major flood protection system to shield the city’s downtown from recurrent flooding linked to sea level rise.  “Typically the way we get money for projects of this scale and magnitude is after a disaster,” said Norfolk […]

As Republicans threaten two years of climate legislation, Democrats go on defense

By: - January 20, 2022

With Republican Gov. Glenn Youngkin moving to withdraw Virginia from a regional carbon market and a new Republican majority in the House of Delegates pledging to amend a sweeping decarbonization law passed in 2020, Democrats are going on defense to protect what they see as their party’s signature environmental achievements of the past two years.  […]

Republican anger, progressive concern combine in push to ban political spending by utilities

By: and - January 17, 2022

Legislative proposals to curb Virginia utilities’ political contributions may be gaining new traction in Richmond as old resentments over a 2015 utility rate freeze law combine with progressive Democrats’ skepticism of utility influence and Republican anger over Dominion Energy’s contributions to a shadowy PAC attacking Gov. Glenn Youngkin during the 2021 elections. Del. Lee Ware, […]

Franklin International Paper mill

‘Carrot and stick’ regulations aim to increase shallow aquifer use

By: - January 17, 2022

After Virginia lawmakers moved to tighten use of the critical deep aquifers that supply drinking water to most of the state’s eastern population, new regulations designed to increase use of shallower reserves are being rolled out.  “There’s been long-standing acknowledgment that moving people to the surficial aquifer is a way to take pressure off the […]

Chesapeake Bay’s waters could suffer extreme heat for half the year by 2100

By: - January 14, 2022

A study by two researchers from the Virginia Institute of Marine Science has found that the frequency of heat waves in the waters of the Chesapeake Bay is increasing, a trend connected to rising atmospheric temperatures that could have “devastating impacts to the bay ecosystem,” the scientists warn. “The results are really robust. It’s really […]

Herring says Youngkin can’t pull Virginia out of carbon market by executive action

By: - January 11, 2022

An official advisory opinion from outgoing Democratic Virginia Attorney General Mark Herring says Republican Gov.-elect Glenn Youngkin cannot withdraw the state from a regional carbon market solely through executive action.  “The Constitution of Virginia does not grant the governor the power to suspend laws, and in fact, it requires the opposite that ‘the governor shall […]

Dominion asks permission to withdraw proposed increase in carbon market costs 

By: - January 11, 2022

Dominion Energy is asking regulators for permission to withdraw an application to raise the costs to Virginia ratepayers for the state’s participation in a regional carbon market, citing “uncertainty” due to Gov.-elect Glenn Youngkin’s pledge to pull Virginia out of the program.  By halting any future cost increases, “customers will benefit to the extent they […]

Dominion finally gets approval for large-scale smart meter rollout

By: - January 10, 2022

In Dominion Energy’s quest to get regulators to approve the large-scale rollout of smart meters to Virginia customers, the fourth time was the charm.  Friday, after three earlier rejections, the Virginia State Corporation Commission signed off on a proposal by the electric utility to replace roughly 1.1 million existing meters with newer technology that can […]

Hampton takes home biggest slice of latest round of flood fund awards

By: - January 7, 2022

The city of Hampton, in Virginia’s increasingly flood-beset region of Hampton Roads, will get more than $9 million in funds from the second round of Community Flood Preparedness Fund grants, which are paid for using proceeds from Virginia’s participation in a regional carbon market.  Hampton’s windfall is over a third of the total $24.5 million […]

Top Northam administration officials say state should not forbid new fossil fuel plants

By: - January 6, 2022

In a New Year’s Day letter to Gov. Ralph Northam, two top Virginia officials recommended that the General Assembly not forbid any new carbon-emitting power plants “at this time,” saying that the state can meet its ambitious decarbonization goals without a moratorium.  “The 2045 carbon-free electricity generation goal can be met through existing natural gas […]

Trump EPA head, coal lobbyist tapped as Virginia’s environmental chief

By: - January 5, 2022

Republican Gov.-elect Glenn Youngkin announced Trump EPA chief and former coal lobbyist Andrew Wheeler as his pick for Virginia’s next secretary of natural and historic resources.  “Virginia needs a diverse energy portfolio in place to fuel our economic growth, continued preservation of our natural resources, and a comprehensive plan to tackle rising sea levels,” said […]

Judge rules in favor of Rappahannock Electric Co-op in transparency fight

By: - December 23, 2021

SPOTSYLVANIA — A judge denied a petition seeking greater transparency in the operations of Rappahannock Electric Cooperative’s board of directors Tuesday but said trial statements indicated the organization is “not as cooperative as it should be.”  The ruling, issued by Judge Joseph J. Ellis in Spotsylvania Circuit Court, was the culmination of a more than […]