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 made big commitments to renewables. What does the economic slump mean for them?

By: - March 27, 2020

Three weeks ago, Virginia’s Democrat-led General Assembly passed the most ambitious plan for transitioning off of fossil fuels and onto renewable energy sources to come out of the South yet. It was a banner moment for environmentalists. Among the promises they secured were state commitments to build out 24 gigawatts of solar, wind and energy […]

Army Corps to begin identifying Virginia locations for temporary hospitals

By: - March 25, 2020

Virginia is the latest state to ask the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to begin looking at hotels, dorms and arenas that can be converted into temporary “alternate care sites” to handle patients suffering from COVID-19. “Our team of dedicated employees are working diligently to meet the call of our nation and help tackle the […]

As groceries fly off shelves, farmers worry about next season’s crop

By: - March 25, 2020

In Pittsylvania County, in the heart of Southside tobacco country, farmer Robert Mills’ greenhouse is full of seedlings ready to be transplanted. Mills, however, is uncertain about whether he should put them into the ground. “We have to make a commitment as to whether we’re going to plant any of these crops,” he said. But […]

As COVID-19 spreads, Virginia coal mines remain open

By: - March 24, 2020

Coal mining continues in Southwest Virginia even as workplace constraints prevent miners from following many of the social distancing practices recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. As of Monday, all of Virginia’s coal and mineral mines that had been open before the appearance of COVID-19, the disease caused by a new strain […]

DEQ suspends routine fieldwork but will continue pipeline monitoring through contractors

By: - March 20, 2020

The Virginia Department of Environmental Quality has suspended all routine fieldwork, including regular inspections and in-person monitoring, for two weeks in the face of the continuing spread of COVID-19, the disease caused by a new strain of coronavirus. The agency announced the move Wednesday afternoon as part of a push by the state government to […]

Va. to try limited energy competition after Dominion reverses opposition to embrace pilot

By: - March 17, 2020

Virginians will see some expansion in their choice of companies to buy electricity from after two proposals killed at the urging of the state’s two largest electric monopolies, Dominion Energy and Appalachian Power Company, were unexpectedly resurrected in the waning days of the session.  The bills, which still have to be signed by Gov. Ralph […]

General Assembly divide means Court of Appeals, SCC judge picks will fall to Northam

By: and - March 13, 2020

Gov. Ralph Northam will have the chance to make interim appointments for two judicial seats after lawmakers failed to agree on nominees for vacant positions on the Virginia Court of Appeals and the State Corporation Commission. Democrats in the House and Senate said they simply couldn’t reach agreement between the two chambers on who to […]

Budget, judges — and electric school buses? One last bus bill remains alive in the House.

By: - March 11, 2020

When the General Assembly reconvenes for its final day of the 2020 session Thursday, it may take up an 11th-hour proposal from Democratic Sen. Louise Lucas of Portsmouth that would smooth the path for Dominion Energy to establish a program that could put up to 1,250 electric school buses on Virginia’s roads by 2025 at […]

Virginia Clean Economy Act clears General Assembly, aided by beefed-up ratepayer protections

By: - March 6, 2020

The Virginia Clean Economy Act cleared its last hurdle in the General Assembly this week when both the House of Delegates and the Senate agreed to a final version that reflected the more aggressive House timeline of making Virginia’s electric grid carbon-free by 2045 while also incorporating stronger protections for electric utility ratepayers.  The bill, […]

Senate bucks the wishes of Dominion, Saslaw, Norment in surprise power plant retirement vote

By: - March 5, 2020

A bill from a freshman Democrat that could cut into Dominion Energy’s profits caused a stir at the Capitol Wednesday when it passed over the objections of two of the most powerful members of the Senate, Majority Leader Dick Saslaw of Fairfax and Minority Leader Tommy Norment of James City. But while legislators swiftly backpedaled, […]

Governor signs bill making Virginia Council on Environmental Justice permanent

By: - March 4, 2020

After almost two years of operating on a temporary basis, the Virginia Council on Environmental Justice became permanent Wednesday when Gov. Ralph Northam signed a bill establishing it as an advisory body to the executive branch. “It’s past time we created a permanent council on environmental justice,” said Northam in a statement. “This bill will […]

The State Corporation Commission

After intense Dominion lobbying, Senate panel kills bipartisan Fair Energy Bills Act

By: - March 2, 2020

A Democrat-led Senate panel Monday night killed a bipartisan bill that aimed to restore a system of electric utility rate review that could have returned hundreds of millions in overearnings to customers of Dominion Energy, vividly illustrating the power that the state’s largest electric monopoly still wields in the Capitol. The Fair Energy Bills Act, […]