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]

Panel says Virginia should do more to promote solar development on brownfields

By: - May 2, 2022

Virginia should do more to encourage developers to site solar on brownfields rather than prime agricultural and forested land, panelists at  the Virginia Solar Summit in Richmond Thursday said.  “The brownfields I think is an easy one,” said Ron Butler, state director for the Virginia chapter of Conservatives for Clean Energy during the panel discussion […]

Weed confusion, a Putin jab and slumlords: recapping the General Assembly’s veto session

By: , and - April 27, 2022

The Virginia General Assembly’s one-day veto session featured a secretive Democratic coup, an accusation Gov. Glenn Youngkin was using Putin-esque tactics to punish a county school board and a break until 4:20 p.m. to resolve massive confusion over marijuana laws. It was a long day for the state’s divided political leaders as they returned to […]

William and Mary researchers find elevated radon levels in Williamsburg homes

By: - April 27, 2022

WILLIAMSBURG — On the Environmental Protection Agency’s map of radon risks, Virginia’s coastal plain is a sunny shade of yellow.  Yellow is the best color to be on the radon map. Yellow is assigned to those areas that in 1993 the agency determined had the lowest potential for high levels of radon, a naturally occurring […]

Five takeaways from the landmark Virginia Solar Survey

By: - April 26, 2022

After a slow start, solar has been booming in Virginia.  From having zero large-scale solar farms in 2015, the commonwealth now has 51 in operation, with more than half found in the central and Southside regions. Distributed solar — which includes rooftop solar and small ground arrays that provide power at or near the place […]

Fight over environmental review by Forest Service continues in courts

By: - April 25, 2022

Even as President Joe Biden’s administration restores key components of a landmark environmental law altered under former President Donald Trump, controversial regulations governing environmental review of certain activities, like logging, in national forests will remain in place.  Following 2020 revisions by Trump to the National Environmental Policy Act — sometimes called the Magna Carta of […]

Virginia will begin monitoring air pollution around Hampton Roads coal terminals

By: - April 19, 2022

NEWPORT NEWS — The southernmost tip of Newport News, where the James River makes its last turn before meeting the Chesapeake Bay, is never still.  This is a place of coming and going. Every year, millions of short tons of coal flow by train into yards owned by Kinder Morgan and Dominion Terminal Associates and […]

Youngkin administration sets stricter runoff rules for solar farms 

By: - April 18, 2022

The Virginia Department of Environmental Quality late this March abruptly rolled out several major changes to how Virginia will manage stormwater runoff from solar farms, saying prior policies may have underestimated water quality impacts.  Previously, Virginia had considered only the foundations or bases of solar panels to be impervious surfaces, or those unable to absorb […]

Lawsuit challenges Virginia right to retrieve law for hunting dogs

By: - April 14, 2022

Three Virginians and a company run by one are suing Virginia’s Department of Wildlife Resources over the state’s controversial right to retrieve law, which allows hunters to go onto private property to retrieve hunting dogs.  All of the plaintiffs have “been subject to repeated invasions by hunters and their dogs acting under color of lawful […]

Youngkin administration says it aims to speed up environmental permitting

By: - April 14, 2022

Chief environmental officials in Gov. Glenn Youngkin’s administration said one of their primary priorities during the next four years will be to review and speed up Virginia’s permitting processes.  “Taking a look at permitting is one of the priorities for this secretariat,” said Acting Secretary of Natural and Historic Resources Travis Voyles Wednesday during a […]

Seven ways Youngkin is trying to make his mark on General Assembly bills

By: , and - April 12, 2022

Almost three months into his term, Gov. Glenn Youngkin has signed 700 bills, suggested amendments to over 100 more and vetoed 26 as Monday’s deadline passed for him to act on most of the General Assembly’s work for the year. Though the governor touted the bipartisan nature of many of the bills that had to […]

Dominion agrees to study viability of Wise power plant that’s not producing much power

By: - March 30, 2022

With a coal plant that’s costing ratepayers millions but not producing much electricity, Dominion Energy has agreed to conduct an analysis of how it could make the Virginia City Hybrid Energy Center in Wise County economically viable in the future.  “The company has acknowledged that the economics of the station are challenged at the moment,” […]

Virginia braces against avian flu after virus detected in Fauquier flock 

By: - March 28, 2022

Virginia farmers and agriculture officials are bracing themselves after a highly pathogenic strain of avian influenza known as the Eurasian H5 type was detected in a flock of chickens and turkeys in Fauquier County this February.  “We’re very worried,” said Hobey Bauhan, president of state industry group the Virginia Poultry Federation. An outbreak “would be […]