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]

maple syrup tapping

For decades, maple syrup was one of Virginia’s best-kept secrets. Now climate change may spell its end.

By: - October 9, 2019

For years, the chirping of the spring peeper frogs was one of Valerie Lowry’s signals that the maple sugar season was coming to an end. Twice the frogs would emerge, filling the Highland County air with their familiar call, and twice they would quiet. On their third appearance, Lowry knew, the sap would stop running, […]

U.S. Supreme Court agrees to hear Atlantic Coast Pipeline case

By: - October 4, 2019

The U.S. Supreme Court announced this morning that it will review a decision by a federal court of appeals that threw up a major barrier to construction of a 600-mile natural gas pipeline being developed by Dominion Energy. The order by the court consolidates two cases brought by environmental groups against the Atlantic Coast Pipeline […]

With a drought holding tight, Virginia enacts burn bans in Southside and Southwest

By: - October 4, 2019

Eighteen Virginia counties are under burn bans before the typical fall wildfire season due to unusually dry weather that has gripped the state over the past month. “This is the driest fall we’ve had in well over 10 years,” said Michelle Stoll, a spokeswoman for the Virginia Department of Forestry. The bans currently in place […]

Virginia aims to improve water quality by transporting tons of poultry waste around the state

By: - October 4, 2019

Virginia has a novel new approach to meeting its water quality goals: moving chicken waste around the state. As the 2025 deadline for Chesapeake Bay cleanup approaches, the commonwealth is vastly expanding a program that transports poultry litter — a product that includes not only fowl excrement but also leftover bedding and uneaten feed — […]

The most important profession fighting sea-level rise you’ve never heard of

By: - October 2, 2019

VIRGINIA BEACH — Billy Almond knows Virginia Beach. He knows where the roads meet the water and where, increasingly, the water is rising to meet the roads. He remembers what the city looked like when he was a child on 84th Street, where when he stepped out of the house he saw the Atlantic Ocean […]

Regional coalition outlines path to curb vehicle emissions in Virginia and 12 other jurisdictions

By: - October 1, 2019

From Maine to Virginia, carbon capping may be coming — this time for cars. On Tuesday, the Transportation and Climate Initiative, an effort by 12 states and Washington, D.C. to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from vehicles, released a draft framework for a “cap and invest” system that would bring the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic region’s carbon […]

Virginia Mercury

Congressional representatives want Virginia included in hemp insurance program; Artwork about Richmond’s monuments debuts in Times Square and more headlines

By: - September 27, 2019

NEWS TO KNOW Our daily roundup of headlines from Virginia and elsewhere. • Republican leaders in the General Assembly are accusing Gov. Ralph Northam of breaking a deal they made to expand Medicaid last year after Northam told the Trump administration “that Virginia’s commitment to the work requirement depends on the federal government paying for […]

Rubbermaid fined $184,000 for air pollution violations

By: - September 26, 2019

A Rubbermaid distribution center in Winchester will have to pay an $184,500 fine to the state after the Department of Environmental Quality found that the facility had “knowingly and blatantly constructed and operated” machines that violated state emissions limits. The settlement was announced Wednesday afternoon by Attorney General Mark Herring’s office. The Winchester Star reports: […]

Northam pledges $20 million to electric school bus purchases

By: - September 24, 2019

After deliberately evading federal emissions standards, Volkswagen was forced to pay out billions in compensation. Now Gov. Ralph Northam has pledged to put $20 million of Virginia’s portion of that settlement toward the purchase of zero-emission school buses. The new program, which will be run by the Department of Environmental Quality, will allow public school […]

Four things to know about Dominion’s massive wind farm proposal

By: - September 24, 2019

Dominion Energy announced last week it filed plans to build what would be the United States’ largest offshore wind farm, capable of producing 2,600 megawatts of energy, or enough to power 650,000 homes. The news was heralded by environmentalists as an important step in the state’s transition away from fossil fuels, one in line with […]

Caroline County Virginia soybean field

In farm bailout, southeastern counties reap rewards

By: - September 20, 2019

If granted three wishes, Virginia farmers hit hard by the China-U.S. trade war might ask first for good growing weather, second for an end to the yearlong conflict and third for an address in Southampton County or the city of Franklin. Why? Because farmers there are entitled to the highest payouts in the state under […]

The State Corporation Commission

Renewable energy providers cleared to operate in Virginia

By: - September 18, 2019

Two renewable energy providers will be allowed to operate in Virginia after the State Corporation Commission ruled Wednesday that they meet state standards for selling renewable energy and don’t need to measure up to more stringent benchmarks proposed by Dominion Energy, the commonwealth’s largest utility. The ruling means that Virginia consumers will continue to be […]