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. She previously worked as a staff reporter for Chesapeake Bay Journal, the Progress-Index and the Caroline Progress, and her work has been twice 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 Institute and is a graduate of the College of William and Mary. Contact her at [email protected]

Virginia lawmakers agreed to join a regional carbon market. Here’s what happens next.

By: - April 14, 2020

A year after Republican resistance stalled Virginia’s effort to cap carbon emissions from large producers of the greenhouse gas at the forefront of climate change, the wheels are again in motion: Virginia is joining the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative. Joining the cap-and-invest program was one of Democrats’ top legislative priorities for the 2020 General Assembly […]

Confusion over park safety produces a patchwork of pandemic policies

By: - April 13, 2020

Even on a blustery day with winds gusting to more than 20 miles per hour, parks all around Richmond saw brisk traffic Friday as residents eager to escape the confines of their homes during the COVID-19 pandemic looked to nature for relief. To some, keeping parks open is a public necessity, providing a place to […]

Dominion Energy's downtown Richmond building. (Ned Oliver/Virginia Mercury)

After Clean Economy Act, Dominion says ‘significant build-out’ of new gas plants no longer viable

By: - April 10, 2020

Although it has not yet been signed into law by Gov. Ralph Northam, the Virginia Clean Economy Act passed by the General Assembly this March has already spurred changes to the long-term plans of Dominion Energy, the state’s largest electric utility. On March 24, Dominion asked regulators to waive a requirement that as part of […]

At Virginia universities, a struggle to define ‘essential’ science

By: - April 8, 2020

Since 1955, scientists from the Virginia Institute of Marine Science have been trawling the waters of the Chesapeake Bay to find out just what lies beneath the surface. Croaker, blue catfish, spot, blue crab, the flat brown fish known as the hogchoker — all have passed through the nets of these fishers of knowledge. Over […]

Army Corps to convert Northern Va., Richmond and Hampton Roads convention centers to temporary hospitals

By: - April 6, 2020

The Army Corps of Engineers has received orders from the Federal Emergency Management Agency to convert three convention centers identified by Gov. Ralph Northam last week into temporary hospital facilities. The facilities — the Dulles Expo Center in Northern Virginia and the Richmond and Hampton Roads convention centers — will be able to provide beds […]

Virginia has bet big on oysters. But amid the pandemic, no one’s buying them.

By: - April 6, 2020

2020 was supposed to be Rogue Oysters’ year. The four-year-old enterprise founded by husband-wife duo Taryn Brice-Rowland and Aaron Rowland in the Northern Neck community of Lancaster had already taken a hit early in its life when record-breaking rains swept through Virginia in 2018, diluting the salty waters where the bivalve thrives and wiping out […]

Despite EPA decision, Virginia says polluters must ‘make every effort’ to comply with environmental regulations

By: - April 1, 2020

Virginia will not relax its enforcement of environmental regulations despite an announcement by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency last week that it won’t impose civil penalties on polluting facilities that don’t comply with routine monitoring and reporting obligations during the coronavirus pandemic. “All regulated entities are expected to make every effort to comply with environmental […]

Virginia made big commitments to renewables. What does the economic slump mean for them?

By: - March 27, 2020

Three weeks ago, Virginia’s Democrat-led General Assembly passed the most ambitious plan for transitioning off of fossil fuels and onto renewable energy sources to come out of the South yet. It was a banner moment for environmentalists. Among the promises they secured were state commitments to build out 24 gigawatts of solar, wind and energy […]

Army Corps to begin identifying Virginia locations for temporary hospitals

By: - March 25, 2020

Virginia is the latest state to ask the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to begin looking at hotels, dorms and arenas that can be converted into temporary “alternate care sites” to handle patients suffering from COVID-19. “Our team of dedicated employees are working diligently to meet the call of our nation and help tackle the […]

As groceries fly off shelves, farmers worry about next season’s crop

By: - March 25, 2020

In Pittsylvania County, in the heart of Southside tobacco country, farmer Robert Mills’ greenhouse is full of seedlings ready to be transplanted. Mills, however, is uncertain about whether he should put them into the ground. “We have to make a commitment as to whether we’re going to plant any of these crops,” he said. But […]

As COVID-19 spreads, Virginia coal mines remain open

By: - March 24, 2020

Coal mining continues in Southwest Virginia even as workplace constraints prevent miners from following many of the social distancing practices recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. As of Monday, all of Virginia’s coal and mineral mines that had been open before the appearance of COVID-19, the disease caused by a new strain […]

DEQ suspends routine fieldwork but will continue pipeline monitoring through contractors

By: - March 20, 2020

The Virginia Department of Environmental Quality has suspended all routine fieldwork, including regular inspections and in-person monitoring, for two weeks in the face of the continuing spread of COVID-19, the disease caused by a new strain of coronavirus. The agency announced the move Wednesday afternoon as part of a push by the state government to […]