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]

In effort to ‘modernize’ agency, DEQ is hampered by lack of funding, outdated laws, report finds

By: - August 19, 2019

Even as the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality’s scope of work has broadened to include such critical concerns as climate change and environmental justice, the agency has seen its funding cut and its programs hamstrung by outdated state regulations, a report by the Office of the Secretary of Natural Resources says. According to DEQ Director […]

Franklin International Paper mill

In James City County, a water crisis by 2.83 million (gallon) cuts 

By: - August 18, 2019

JAMES CITY COUNTY — From Sandy Bay Bridge, a stone’s throw from Jamestown, an eye cast in any direction lands inevitably upon water. During the summer in this part of James City County, where the county seal shows three sails floating atop a blue wave, the Jamestown-Scotland ferry crosses the James River 86 times a […]

Wet weather prevented thousands of acres of crops from being planted last year in Virginia

By: - August 15, 2019

Virginia’s amber waves of grain are short 40,000 acres this year thanks to an unusually wet past year. Compared to a record 19.4 million acres of land nationwide that couldn’t be planted due to weather or natural disaster, that’s a drop in the bucket. But it’s also about eight times higher than the 5,500 acres […]

Mountain Valley Pipeline voluntarily suspends construction that could harm endangered species

By: - August 15, 2019

Mountain Valley Pipeline, LLC has voluntarily suspended all construction activities that could negatively impact four endangered or threatened species, according to a letter the company submitted to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission Thursday. The developer of the controversial pipeline through West Virginia and Virginia wrote that it had […]

Virginia joins coalition suing Trump administration over Clean Power Plan replacement

By: - August 13, 2019

Virginia joined 21 other states, the District of Columbia and six major metro areas on Tuesday in suing the Trump administration over its “unlawful” repeal of the Clean Power Plan. The suit, filed in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia, alleges that the Obama-era plan’s replacement, the Affordable Clean Energy rule, violates […]

Northern Virginia continues to dominate advanced energy jobs, report shows

By: - August 8, 2019

Advanced energy jobs continue to be largely clustered in major metro areas in eastern Virginia, a report released this week by a national energy industry business group shows. According to data from Advanced Energy Economy, the largest number of advanced energy jobs in Virginia are found in Fairfax County, the state’s largest locality. Fairfax, population […]

Despite legislative blocks, one form of carbon cap-and-trade is alive and well in Virginia

By: - August 7, 2019

Carbon cap-and-trade ended with a whimper in Richmond this past spring when Republican budget additions blocked the state from participating in the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative and Gov. Ralph Northam declined to issue a veto. But in southwestern Virginia, it’s business as usual. In the Appalachian Mountains that surround the Clinch River Valley, vast forests […]

SCC partially approves Dominion rider that will increase bills

By: - August 5, 2019

Electric bills will go up for Dominion customers after the State Corporation Commission on Monday approved the utility’s request to recoup some of the costs it sank into complying with new federal and state environmental regulations in 2015 — but maybe not as much as the company would have liked. The SCC’s decision allows Dominion […]

Federal court won’t give pipeline injunction to remove tree sitters 

By: - August 4, 2019

A federal court on Friday denied Mountain Valley Pipeline’s request for a preliminary injunction against two unnamed tree sitters who have been blocking the company from clearing land for construction for almost a year. The opinion by Judge Elizabeth Dillon in the U.S. District Court for the Western District in Virginia refuses to grant the […]

DEQ orders work stopped on Mountain Valley Pipeline section

By: - August 2, 2019

The Virginia Department of Environmental Quality on Friday issued a stop-work instruction for a two-mile section of the Mountain Valley Pipeline in Montgomery County after an inspection found that the company hasn’t been adequately controlling erosion. DEQ Director David Paylor said in a statement that the department was “appalled that construction priorities and deadline pressures […]

Federal government says Virginia is overcalculating too many SNAP payments

By: - July 31, 2019

Virginia got a slap on the wrist this week and may be subject to financial penalties after the federal government found that the state had one of the highest rates of error in the nation in calculating its food-assistance payments. According to data released Tuesday by the U.S. Department of Agriculture Tuesday, Virginia miscalculated its […]

FERC: Southgate pipeline would have ‘some adverse impacts’ that could be reduced

By: - July 30, 2019

The proposed Southgate pipeline, which would link the Mountain Valley Pipeline in Virginia with North Carolina, “would result in some adverse impacts” that could be “reduced to less-than-significant levels,” the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission said in a draft environmental impact statement released Friday. Under the National Environmental Policy Act, an environmental impact statement must be […]