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]

Youngkin pledges to pull Virginia from carbon market by executive order

By: - December 8, 2021

Gov.-elect Glenn Youngkin is pledging to use executive action to pull Virginia out of the Regional Greenhouse Gas Alliance, a carbon market involving 10 other Mid-Atlantic and New England states.  “RGGI describes itself as a regional market for carbon, but it is really a carbon tax that is fully passed on to ratepayers. It’s a […]

EPA urges states to route water infrastructure funds to underserved communities

By: - December 8, 2021

As Virginia prepares to receive more than $126 million in infrastructure funding for water projects next year, the Environmental Protection Agency is calling on governors, including Virginia’s, to prioritize the use of funds for underserved communities. “We know that economically stressed communities — small, large, rural, urban and suburban — often lack the financial, technical […]

‘We can adapt’: Virginia releases coastal master plan

By: - December 8, 2021

Gov. Ralph Northam’s administration released Virginia’s inaugural Coastal Resilience Master Plan Tuesday, meeting a pledge earlier this year to complete the initiative before his term ends.  Developed over the past year with what the governor’s office said was input from 2,000 people, including residents, local government representatives, environmental groups, business leaders and others, the master […]

Environmental groups sue Henrico County over chronic sewage violations

By: - December 6, 2021

Three environmental groups are suing Henrico County over what they say is a failure to fix chronic problems with its sewage collection system and treatment plant that has led to more than 66 million gallons of raw sewage being dumped into the James River and its tributaries since 2016.  In a suit filed in federal […]

Virginia reaps $228 million in first year of carbon market participation

By: - December 6, 2021

Virginia took in $227.6 million for flood protection and low-income energy efficiency programs during its first year of participation in the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative, a carbon cap-and-invest market involving 10 other Mid-Atlantic and New England states. Results from RGGI’s last quarterly auction of 2021 published Friday morning show the largest chunk of carbon change […]

Virginia regulatory board denies Mountain Valley Pipeline compressor station permit

By: - December 3, 2021

In a 6-1 vote, the Virginia State Air Pollution Control Board on Friday voted to deny an air permit for a proposed compressor station in Pittsylvania that would be a key part of the Southgate extension of the controversial Mountain Valley Pipeline.  “I have concluded that when we equitably consider — not just consider, but […]

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

Gas pipeline upgrades planned to increase capacity to Hampton Roads 

By: - December 3, 2021

Columbia Gas Transmission announced plans Wednesday to replace almost 50 miles of pipeline south of Petersburg and upgrade existing compressor stations to increase gas supply to the Hampton Roads region.  “The community has outlined the need for the replacement of an existing line built in the 1950s in order to bring greater natural gas reliability […]

Virginia air board adopts clean car regulations 

By: - December 3, 2021

The Virginia State Air Pollution Control Board approved regulations Thursday that set up the framework for reducing greenhouse gas emissions from vehicles as part of a California program the General Assembly embraced during its winter 2021 session.  “That is a very significant regulation. It will have a very positive impact on Virginia’s environment,” Mike Dowd, […]

World’s largest oyster restoration completed on Piankatank River

By: - November 30, 2021

‘Tis the season for champagne and oysters — and nowhere is more flush with the beloved bivalve than Virginia’s Piankatank River.  With more than 438 acres of restored oyster reef, the Piankatank is home to what Nature Conservancy Virginia Chesapeake Bay Program Director Andy Lacatell says is “the largest completed oyster restoration project on the […]

Why some lawmakers are pushing for a Virginia flood board

By: - November 29, 2021

With sea level rise and more frequent intense rainstorms putting pressure on communities statewide, some Virginia officials are again pushing for the creation of a state flood board.  “People may dispute the cause, but I don’t think there’s any dispute along party lines about what’s happening on the ground across the commonwealth,” said Sen. Lynwood […]

Virginia agencies are getting rid of single-use plastics. Not everyone is pleased.

By: - November 22, 2021

The road to getting rid of single-use plastics at the Virginia Department of Corrections is littered with security protocols — specifically, ensuring that nonplastic bottles and cutlery can’t be used as weapons.  “There’s a lot of things we can’t change strictly to aluminum,” said Russell Vanness, the department’s sustainability administrator. “You can’t possibly make a […]

Northam orders state to consult with tribal nations when considering permits 

By: - November 18, 2021

Gov. Ralph Northam on Thursday ordered state agencies to consult with Virginia’s federally recognized tribal nations when considering state permits to determine whether development projects might impact environmental, cultural and historic resources.  “Federal agencies are required to offer an opportunity for government-to-government consultation with federally recognized tribal nations when taking actions that have tribal implications,” […]