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]

Fluvanna dam at risk of failure is one of 1,800 in Virginia that pose unknown risks

By: - March 25, 2022

A privately owned dam in Fluvanna that officials have been working to keep from failing since Monday is one of more than 1,800 dams in Virginia whose risks to the public and property are unknown.  Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation spokesman Dave Neudeck said the agency doesn’t have an accurate hazard classification for the McIver […]

Waste industry backs bill to raise annual landfill fees

By: - March 23, 2022

Virginia taxpayers have been putting millions every year toward the permitting and inspection of landfills and other facilities that handle nonhazardous solid waste.  Now, a bill sent to the governor’s desk would increase the fees waste operators have to pay with the goal of covering the state’s expenses.  “It just makes the landfill program self-sufficient […]

Youngkin says RGGI won’t cut emissions. Critics say his own report shows he’s wrong.

By: - March 18, 2022

Gov. Glenn Youngkin’s administration this week released a report that his office says justifies the governor’s efforts to pull Virginia out of a multi-state carbon market called the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative. But opponents say the report actually demonstrates the key role RGGI plays in reducing climate change-causing carbon emissions. The report, which was issued […]

Chickahominy Power cancels plans for natural gas plant in Charles City

By: - March 17, 2022

A second natural gas plant planned for Charles City County has been canceled, with the developers citing “opposition from outside interests and regulations” that “made it impossible to deliver natural gas to the site.”   Specifically, the developers blamed “the renewable energy industry and state legislators that supported them” for the cancellation.  Chickahominy Power, LLC posted […]

Water authority abandons plans to site pump station at Rassawek

By: - March 16, 2022

A water intake and pump station will no longer be built at the site of the former Monacan Indian Nation capital known as Rassawek after a unanimous vote by the James River Water Authority Tuesday to begin seeking permits and approvals for an alternative location. The decision brings to an end a multiyear-long dispute between […]

Solar groups say $55 minimum bill for shared solar is ‘unworkable’

By: - March 15, 2022

Solar advocacy groups say a Virginia regulator’s recommendation that Dominion Energy charge ratepayers who sign up for a new community solar program a minimum monthly bill of $55 would be the highest such charge in the nation and would hobble the program by making it too expensive  The minimum bill “will severely undermine the ability […]

Wheeler to remain in Youngkin administration as senior adviser

By: - March 14, 2022

Former Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Andrew Wheeler, whose appointment as Virginia’s top environmental official was blocked by Senate Democrats, will serve as a senior adviser to Gov. Glenn Youngkin, according to Youngkin spokesperson Macaulay Porter.  Porter also said that Deputy Secretary of Natural and Historic Resources Travis Voyles will serve as acting secretary of natural […]

As Virginia nets another $74 million, RGGI uncertainty lingers

By: - March 14, 2022

Power producers in the northeastern and Mid-Atlantic carbon market known as the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative paid a record price for carbon allowances in the first auction of 2022, which netted Virginia $74.2 million for flood protection and low-income energy efficiency programs.  The clearing price for allowances, which producers must buy for each ton of […]

One of this year’s biggest solar bills is all about forests and farms

By: - March 10, 2022

Two years after the Clean Economy Act set sweeping targets for renewable energy development across Virginia, the General Assembly is trying to balance a boom in solar construction with the desire to preserve farmland and forests.  In more rural parts of the state, particularly in the wealthier upper Piedmont region, some residents have complained about […]

General Assembly agrees to end ban on Sunday public land hunting

By: - March 7, 2022

After years of debate, both chambers of Virginia’s General Assembly have agreed to get rid of a state law prohibiting hunting on public lands in the commonwealth on Sundays, signaling the days are numbered for a ban that can be traced back to the 17th century.  “I’m glad to see that all lands will now be […]

House Republicans torpedo bills giving Virginia tribes state consultation rights

By: - March 7, 2022

Virginia law will continue to not require state agencies to consult with the commonwealth’s seven federally recognized tribes on projects and plans that could affect them after House Republicans killed two proposals to enshrine the right in statute this session.  “I just can’t get myself comfortable yet with the legislation as it is at this […]

Virginia’s contentious ‘right to retrieve’ law remains intact 

By: - March 3, 2022

Virginia’s controversial “right to retrieve” law allowing hunters to go on other people’s property without permission to retrieve hunting dogs will remain on the books unchanged after two bills that would have slightly tweaked it failed in the Senate.  Both pieces of legislation were killed Tuesday by the Senate Agriculture, Conservation and Natural Resources Committee.  […]