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]

Chesapeake Bay Program puts numbers on climate change-related pollution

By: - November 9, 2020

Chesapeake Bay states will now have specific targets for reducing pollution expected to result from climate change, officials announced Friday morning during a meeting of the Chesapeake Bay Commission.  The new policy, which is in line with a plan for addressing climate change impacts first set in December 2018, goes beyond the Chesapeake Bay Program’s […]

Autumn’s first frost is falling later. For farmers, the consequences are wide-ranging.

By: - November 3, 2020

Halloween has come and gone. The clocks have been set back. Every evening darkness falls just a little bit earlier.  But for much of Virginia, the first frost still remains elusive.  Over the past century, the average date of the first frost has been moving progressively backward throughout the commonwealth, today landing a week or […]

As Virginia tries to become more energy efficient, building codes come under the microscope

By: - November 2, 2020

It’s almost a ritual: As the days shorten and the drafts begin to sweep beneath the door or weasel around the window frame, the echo of a grumpy parental voice can be heard: “We aren’t paying to heat the neighborhood.” Variations of that experience play out across the U.S. every year. But if you thought […]

State says lawsuit over carbon cap-and-invest plan should be dismissed … because of $71 in court fees 

By: - October 30, 2020

Virginia is asking the Richmond Circuit Court to dismiss a lawsuit by the Virginia Manufacturers Association that aims to block the state’s participation in a regional carbon cap-and-invest market because it says VMA didn’t pay its court fees in time.  “The association did not, within 30 days after filing its notice of appeal, pay all […]

Federal regulators order Atlantic Coast Pipeline to provide a plan for project wind-down, restoration

By: - October 29, 2020

Almost four months after the cancellation of the Atlantic Coast Pipeline, federal regulators have ordered the project developers to provide a plan for what they intend to do with the facilities and the lands where the natural gas pipeline was supposed to be built.  The order from the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission applies to both […]

Another rare 2020 bright spot: Chesapeake Bay had shorter, less severe dead zone

By: - October 28, 2020

Thanks to a cool spring, early fall temperatures and the arrival of Hurricane Isaias in August, the Chesapeake Bay dead zone was less severe and lasted for a shorter time in 2020 than in previous years. The annual dead zone report for the bay, issued by the Virginia Institute of Marine Science at William & […]

2020 was supposed to be a historic year for environmental funding in Virginia. Then came the pandemic.

By: - October 26, 2020

2020 was supposed to be the year to make the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality great again.  After years of budget cuts to the agency charged with maintaining the health of the commonwealth’s air, water and lands, a surplus of funds in state coffers promised to put millions of dollars back into DEQ and add […]

With new roadmap to combat rising seas, Virginia officially acknowledges the threat of climate change

By: - October 22, 2020

Virginia will no longer sidestep recognition that climate change is occurring and poses an existential threat to the state’s way of life, shoreline, economies and resources, a new planning document released by Gov. Ralph Northam’s administration Thursday reveals.  The report, called the Coastal Resilience Master Planning Framework, heralds a shift in the Old Dominion’s approach […]

Menhaden quota cut 10 percent as fisheries managers weigh ecosystem impacts

By: - October 21, 2020

With a new fisheries regime in place that takes a broader ecosystem approach to management, the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission on Tuesday cut the menhaden quota for the next two years by 10 percent.  The decision reduces the allowable catch of menhaden from 216,000 metric tons to 194,400 metric tons in 2021 and 2022.  […]

Buckingham’s next environmental fight? Maybe gold mining.

By: - October 20, 2020

The Atlantic Coast Pipeline is dead. So what’s next for Buckingham County?  Gold, apparently.  This month, plans by a Canadian gold mining company to extract the valuable commodity from thousands of acres of land in Buckingham surfaced, setting off a wave of alarm in a community that fought five years to keep a natural gas […]

Long-awaited environmental justice study calls for ‘a cultural shift’ at DEQ

By: - October 17, 2020

An 18-month study of how the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality can incorporate environmental justice into its policies and procedures calls for both sweeping changes in the agency’s culture and new laws to more clearly govern the evaluation and management of projects that could impact sensitive communities.  “Ultimately, DEQ must create the space for a […]

Virginia says the acorns are all right

By: - October 16, 2020

Good news: the acorns are totally normal.  So reported the Virginia Department of Wildlife Resources this week in announcing the results of its annual acorn surveys, a monitoring effort that tracks the nut crop as an indicator of both wildlife health and potential hunter success.  “There seem to be few things normal about 2020, but […]