Author

Sarah Vogelsong

Sarah Vogelsong

Sarah is Editor-in-Chief of the Mercury and previously its environment and energy reporter. She has worked for multiple Virginia and regional publications, including Chesapeake Bay Journal, The Progress-Index and The Caroline Progress. Her reporting has won awards from groups such as the Society of Environmental Journalists and Virginia Press Association, and she is an alumna of the Columbia Energy Journalism Initiative and Metcalf Institute Science Immersion Workshop for Journalists. She is a graduate of the College of William and Mary. Contact her at [email protected]

Virginia has issued 5,600 nonbinary driver’s licenses and IDs since 2020

By: - September 28, 2022

Virginia’s Department of Motor Vehicles has issued approximately 5,600 driver’s licenses and other forms of ID with a nonbinary gender designation since a 2020 law allowed people to choose that option rather than male or female. The number includes “driver’s licenses, identification cards, driver privilege cards and identification privilege cards,” said Jessica Cowardin, a spokesperson […]

As maternal mortality rates rise in Virginia, health officials launch interviews into deaths

By: - September 27, 2022

Preliminary data show Virginia’s maternal mortality rate more than doubled between 2018 and 2020, a sharp increase encouraging state officials to start doing ground-level interviews to figure out what’s driving pregnancy-related deaths. According to early numbers from Virginia’s Maternal Mortality Review Team, the state’s maternal mortality rate in 2018 was 37.1 deaths per 100,000 cases. In […]

Kaine says Mountain Valley Pipeline provision in Manchin bill ‘could open the door to serious abuse and even corruption’

By: - September 22, 2022

Virginia Sen. Tim Kaine (D) on Thursday sharply criticized a provision of a federal energy permitting reform bill that would force completion of the controversial Mountain Valley Pipeline, saying that “it could open the door to serious abuse and even corruption.”  “If they demonstrate on the merits that they should be entitled to build a […]

Virginia prison agency discriminated against female employee in tampon case, jury rules

By: - September 20, 2022

A jury found Monday that the Virginia Department of Corrections discriminated against a former employee who was fired after a body scanner detected a tampon she was wearing and officials suspected she was carrying contraband into the prison.  The jury, which heard the case in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Virginia, […]

Youngkin administration overhauls Virginia transgender student policies

By: and - September 16, 2022

Republican Gov. Glenn Youngkin’s administration quietly released a document Friday overhauling Virginia’s policy on the treatment of transgender students, citing “parental rights.”  The “Model Policies on the Privacy, Dignity, and Respect for all Students and Parents in Virginia’s Public Schools” published by the Virginia Department of Education will direct local school boards to adopt a […]

Troubled Fones Cliffs property listed for bankruptcy sale

By: - September 13, 2022

Nearly 1,000 acres of land at Virginia’s famous Fones Cliffs on the Rappahannock River will be put up for auction at a bankruptcy sale. A listing by New York-based Auction Advisors puts the minimum bid for the property as $4.25 million in an auction to be held Nov. 3.   The 977-acre undeveloped property, which is […]

Study projects major local tax losses due to sea level rise

By: - September 12, 2022

A new analysis by Climate Central finds that as sea level rise shifts tidal lines along the nation’s coast, local governments face potentially steep drops in tax revenue as a sizable amount of once-taxable land is subject to flooding.  “Coastal flooding caused by sea level rise is shifting the tide lines that many coastal states […]

The 21st century’s canary in the coal mine is a robotic dog named Spot

By: - September 1, 2022

GLEN ALLEN — Coal miners had their canaries to sniff out deadly carbon monoxide before the gas could overcome them.  Now, with coal on its way out, nuclear plants are turning to a 21st-century warning system to shield workers from radiation: a robotic dog named Spot.  “You can’t see radiation,” said Joshua Bell, a nuclear […]

Virginia won’t tax forgiven student loans, despite news reports

By: - August 29, 2022

Virginia will not tax as income student loans forgiven under a new plan announced by President Joe Biden last week, according to representatives of two state agencies.  “The amount of student loan debt that was forgiven will be left out of federal adjusted gross income, and, by extension, Virginia taxable income, without any further action […]

California’s 2035 ban on new gas-powered cars set to apply to Virginia

By: - August 26, 2022

California’s decision to ban the sale of new gas-powered cars beginning in 2035 will also halt the sale of such vehicles in Virginia due to a 2021 law linking the commonwealth to the western state’s vehicle emissions standards, state attorneys have concluded.  In a Thursday email obtained by the Mercury, Assistant Attorney General Michael Jagels […]

Virginia expands monkeypox vaccine eligibility

By: - August 25, 2022

More Virginians will be able to receive the monkeypox vaccine after the state expanded eligibility as a result of federal changes to how the shots can be administered.  On Thursday the Virginia Department of Health announced the vaccine will now be available to people of any sexual orientation or gender who have had anonymous or […]

Buchanan metallurgical coal mine to expand after deal with Virginia

By: - August 24, 2022

Virginia’s largest coal mining operation is set to get even larger after Gov. Glenn Youngkin’s administration announced a deal between the state and Coronado Global Resources to expand operations and production at the company’s Buchanan Mine Complex in Buchanan County.  On Tuesday, the administration said Coronado will invest $169.1 million to increase the capacity of […]