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]

Strickler to step down as natural resources secretary

By: - September 22, 2021

Virginia Secretary of Natural Resources Matthew Strickler is stepping down from his post in the waning months of Gov. Ralph Northam’s administration.  A release from the governor’s office said Strickler, a former Democratic congressional policy adviser on natural resources and legislative assistant to then-Sen. Northam, will be “pursuing new opportunities.”  He will be replaced by […]

Dominion accelerates solar and storage buildout plans 

By: - September 21, 2021

A plan filed by Dominion Energy with state regulators last week for how it intends to comply with the Virginia Clean Economy Act, a 2020 law that will require the electric utility to be carbon-free by 2045, calls for an acceleration of the company’s deployment of solar and storage.  The company is proposing the development […]

Can Southwest Virginia remake itself as a laboratory for renewables?

By: - September 20, 2021

NORTON — In September 2020, the highwall came crashing down.  For decades, the more than 75-foot-high remnant of surface mining had dominated the eastern entry to Norton, looming over the intersection of Routes 23 and 58. Officials had long since forgotten what company had left behind the structure, which predated both the state’s mining agency […]

Hampton Roads aquifer recharge project gets $477 million EPA loan

By: - September 14, 2021

A Hampton Roads-wide project intended to recharge the Potomac aquifer that supplies drinking water to much of Virginia’s population east of Interstate 95 received a $477 million loan from the Environmental Protection Agency last week.  Ted Henifin, general manager of the Hampton Roads Sanitation District, said in a news release that the loan will be […]

In Southwest Virginia, farmers and brewers hope for a grain renaissance

By: - September 14, 2021

ST. PAUL — On a quiet Thursday afternoon in St. Paul, a town of about 850 that sits on the banks of the Clinch River straddling Wise and Russell counties, Greg Bailey was filling a growler of Scotch ale.  Beer has a colorful history in these parts. Once it flowed like water: so rowdy was […]

Groups say racially-charged Northam administration report misrepresents tax credit program

By: - September 13, 2021

Land conservation groups angered by the Northam administration’s portrayal of a popular tax credit program as inequitable say that instead of diverting its funding to more targeted grant programs, the General Assembly and the governor need to channel more money to conservation broadly.  “We agree we should fully fund the grant programs, and the land […]

Bay states seek new federal funding initiative for farm cleanup

By: and - September 8, 2021

Virginia Agriculture and Forestry Secretary Bettina Ring and her counterparts from the five other Chesapeake Bay states are seeking a sit-down with U.S. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack to discuss a proposal to pump extra federal funding into a concerted effort to clean up the Bay. Ring and the other state  agriculture officials are embracing a […]

Natural gas developer asks SCC to rule it doesn’t need state approval to build Chickahominy Pipeline

By: - September 8, 2021

A pipeline company linked to a planned natural gas plant in Charles City County is asking state regulators to rule that it doesn’t need their approval to build a pipeline to channel gas from existing lines to the facility.  Chickahominy Pipeline, LLC “has determined that it is impracticable and unfeasible to procure an adequate supply […]

On Shenandoah River, algae and bacteria continue to plague recreation — and human health

By: - August 31, 2021

On the rolling river of old song, new growth is troubling the waters.  When summer temperatures rise and waters slow, long strands of algae emerge in many parts of the Shenandoah and its North and South Forks. Thick and dense enough to form floating mats, they catch kayakers’ paddles and fishermen’s rods and deter swimmers […]

Port of Virginia to lease terminal to Dominion for offshore wind project

By: - August 25, 2021

The Port of Virginia will lease the Portsmouth Marine Terminal to Dominion Energy in what Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam called “the critical next step to propel development of the largest offshore wind project off the East Coast.” “The agreement between the Port of Virginia and Dominion Energy will dramatically accelerate the commonwealth’s transition to clean, […]

Va.’s reliance on tax credits for land conservation is ‘certainly not equitable,’ review finds

By: - August 24, 2021

Nearly all of Virginia’s $1.8 billion in spending on land conservation over the past two decades has gone toward tax credits for private land, with a state agency review finding that “a large number” of those credits are likely “being used to help reduce the tax burden of high earning individuals and corporations.”  Additionally, more […]

As school year begins, electric school bus plans pick up speed statewide

By: - August 20, 2021

Gov. Ralph Northam’s administration and Dominion Energy are moving forward with plans to begin replacing diesel buses with electric or propane alternatives.  On Thursday, Northam announced that Virginia will spend more than $10.5 million in funds from the Volkswagen “Dieselgate” settlement to replace 83 diesel buses in 19 school divisions with electric or propane-fueled buses. […]