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]

Yes, Virginia, we are seeing more — and more intense — rainfall

By: - August 20, 2021

Record-setting rainfall in 2018. A month’s worth of water that drenched Northern Virginia in an hour in July 2019. Neighborhoods that flood repeatedly in Richmond’s Southside and Petersburg.  In Virginia, conversations about climate change have tended to focus on sea level rise, the waters that surge up from oceans and coastal rivers to overspill their […]

Report says climate change will have ‘increasingly disruptive effect’ on coastal Va.

By: - August 18, 2021

Climate change is expected to have an “increasingly disruptive effect” on residents of Virginia’s coastal areas, with statewide repercussions, a report commissioned by the General Assembly in 2020 found.  “For Virginians living on the coast, the immediate consequences will be rising sea levels, more intense and frequent storms, and warmer and more variable local temperatures,” […]

As Virginia EV sales slowly climb, auto dealers still haven’t given up on rebates

By: - August 17, 2021

Don Hall has put his money on electric: specifically, the Volkswagen ID.4, which he bought this summer.  The president and CEO of the Virginia Automobile Dealers Association sparked surprise this winter when he threw his influential organization’s support behind a law that aims to move Virginia drivers away from the internal combustion engine toward cars […]

$125M puts ‘meaningful dent’ in plans to halt sewage flow into Virginia rivers

By: - August 13, 2021

For decades, three Virginia cities along the James and Potomac rivers have been pouring money into efforts to halt the flow of sewage into the waterways during heavy rainstorms and flooding.  Now, flush with $4.3 billion in American Relief Plan Act cash, the state has what Chesapeake Bay Foundation Virginia Director Peggy Sanner called “a […]

Fight brewing over alleged aquifer damage by Mountain Valley Pipeline 

By: - August 12, 2021

Already tense relations between Mountain Valley Pipeline and opponents of the project were further inflamed Wednesday after the owners of a property on which the pipeline was drilling alleged the company had penetrated the shallow local aquifer. An attorney for J. Coles Terry, the owner of a property on Bent Mountain in Roanoke County where […]

Polling by clean energy group finds support for renewables across partisan lines

By: - August 12, 2021

New polling by a conservative group that advocates for clean energy found that more than 60 percent of Virginians support the aims of transitioning the state’s electric grid to clean energy by 2050, cutting fossil fuel pollution and strengthening energy efficiency programs.  The finding, which sought to determine support for the goals of the Virginia […]

National Academies to study potential impacts of gold mining in Virginia

By: - August 10, 2021

The National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine will conduct an independent study of the health, safety and environmental impacts of gold mining in Virginia as part of a state review that lawmakers agreed to undertake in 2021.  Among the issues the committee will examine are current gold mining operations at sites similar to those […]

Budget includes $120 million in additional utility assistance

By: - August 9, 2021

Another round of utility assistance is poised to be directed toward Virginia residents who have struggled to keep their lights on and water running during the COVID-19 pandemic even as the end of a statewide moratorium on disconnections nears.  On late Friday, lawmakers in the House of Delegates and Senate reached a deal after a […]

Potomac River Generating Station/Mirant power plant

Regulators approve Dominion bill increase for participation in carbon trading network

By: - August 5, 2021

Virginia utility regulators on Wednesday signed off on the costs of Dominion Energy’s first year of participation in a regional cap-and-invest program for carbon emissions from power plants, which is expected to increase the average residential customer’s monthly bill by about $2.39.  But while concurring with the opinion, Judge Judith Jagdmann warned the General Assembly […]

Lawmakers ask SCC to analyze Dominion rates with an eye on refunds for customers

By: - August 4, 2021

Eighteen Virginia legislators are asking state regulators to analyze what refunds Dominion Energy customers might receive and what electric rates would be if regulators weren’t bound by provisions in state law that are favorable to the large electric utility’s bottom line.  “This is Dominion’s first rate case since 2015 and the first since the passage […]

Nonprofit says federal program could be hurting endangered Atlantic sturgeon in James River

By: - August 2, 2021

A national environmental nonprofit is threatening to sue the federal government over its failure to examine how a program that encourages the use of waterways for shipping affects endangered species, including Atlantic sturgeon in Virginia’s James River.  Increased vessel traffic on major U.S. rivers and coasts resulting from the America’s Marine Highway Program run by […]

Coal fuels less and less Virginia electricity. But when should utilities pull the plug on plants?

By: - July 30, 2021

When Dominion Energy broke ground in 2008 on the largely coal-fired Virginia City Hybrid Energy Center, then-Lt. Gov. Bill Bolling called it “the largest economic development project in the history of Southwest Virginia.”  Today, the facility, the last coal plant to be built in Virginia, remains a local economic force, tipping more than $8.9 million […]