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]

Virginia senators again push for pipeline review reforms

By: - August 6, 2020

Virginia’s Democratic Sens. Mark Warner and Tim Kaine are again proposing reforms to the federal pipeline review process in response to public complaints surrounding the now-cancelled Atlantic Coast Pipeline and the still active Mountain Valley Pipeline through Virginia.  Legislation put forward by the senators intends “to strengthen the public’s ability to evaluate the impacts of […]

Menhaden decision marks a new era in Atlantic fisheries management

By: - August 6, 2020

Once again, a little fish that has loomed large in Virginia politics is causing big waves. This time, though, the Atlantic menhaden is at the forefront of a change in how officials up and down the coast are looking at and managing fisheries.  The adoption Wednesday of an “ecological reference point” for menhaden by the […]

Scientists identify 14 species among hundreds of mystery seeds sent to U.S.

By: - August 3, 2020

Mustard. Cabbage. Morning glory. Mint. Sage. That’s not a shopping list for a visit to the plant nursery. It’s five of the types of seeds federal scientists have identified among the hundreds mailed to U.S. residents without warning over the past few weeks, largely in packaging containing Chinese writing.  According to the most recent update […]

After several years of tumult, Air Board members reexamine public engagement process

By: - August 3, 2020

Virginia’s State Air Pollution Control Board, which has seen meetings repeatedly attract hundreds of angry citizens and called in police to keep order over the past few years, has created a four-member committee to reexamine the board’s public engagement process. “There were lots of concerns raised during the recent permit matters we considered about the […]

Virginia Attorney General Mark Herring. (Ned Oliver/Virginia Mercury)

Judge upholds Virginia’s uranium ban in property rights case

By: - July 30, 2020

A Wise County and City of Norton Circuit Court judge on Thursday upheld the constitutionality of Virginia’s 38-year-old uranium mining moratorium on the grounds that while the ban does deprive its owners of property rights, the state has a compelling interest to do so. “Even the highest rights cannot be used in a vacuum; we […]

The Atlantic Coast Pipeline was canceled. What happens to all the land acquired for it?

By: - July 29, 2020

The bitterly fought Atlantic Coast Pipeline has been canceled, but the two major utilities behind it, Virginia-based Dominion Energy and North Carolina-based Duke Energy, still have not decided what to do about the land they gained control over for the project, in some cases through eminent domain.  “There are a number of important issues that […]

White House announces intent to nominate SCC Chair Mark Christie to FERC

By: - July 27, 2020

Virginia State Corporation Commission Chair Mark Christie will be nominated by President Donald Trump’s administration to sit on the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, the White House announced Monday. FERC, which can include up to five commissioners, is the federal regulatory agency that oversees interstate energy sales and transmission projects, including pipelines, natural gas storage and […]

Some Virginians are getting mystery seeds in the mail. Officials say don’t plant them.

By: - July 24, 2020

Virginia is the latest state to report residents receiving unsolicited mysterious seeds in packets marked with Chinese writing, according to a release from the Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services Friday.  VDACS “has been notified that several Virginia residents have received unsolicited packages containing seeds that appear to have originated from China,” the release […]

With coal in crisis, will Virginia be saddled with millions in mine cleanup costs?

By: - July 24, 2020

As the COVID-19 pandemic accelerates King Coal’s decline, Virginia could be on the hook for millions in cleanup costs if an anticipated wave of bankruptcies destabilizes its bond pool system for managing the risks of company failures.  One of six states, all in or near the Appalachian basin, that allow coal companies to post partial […]

living shoreline

Virginia’s coast saw two to five times more nuisance floods in 2019 than the national average

By: - July 17, 2020

With sea level rise continuing to accelerate along the Atlantic and Gulf coasts, Virginia coastal communities in 2019 saw two to five times more nuisance flooding than the national average, a federal report released this week shows.  “Evidence of a rapid increase in sea level rise-related flooding started to emerge about two decades ago, and […]

electric vehicle charging station

Electric vehicle use is rising. But who should be at the wheel during the transition?

By: - July 16, 2020

With new laws that aim to reduce carbon output from power plants now in effect, Virginia officials are laying the groundwork to tackle a much more complicated source of emissions: vehicles. Almost half of the commonwealth’s carbon emissions can be traced back to transportation — trucks, airplanes and, of course, cars. But unlike the electric […]

State defends refusal to release poultry plant COVID-19 information

By: - July 10, 2020

The Virginia Department of Health defended its refusal to release information on COVID-19 outbreaks in poultry plants, saying the poultry plants don’t operate like long-term care facilities and the state has been able to identify cases among workers without having to notify the public. VDH previously cited a section of state code regarding privacy to […]