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]

At reconvened Council on Environmental Justice, tensions linger

By: - July 15, 2019

While most of the inaugural meeting of Gov. Ralph Northam’s newly reconstituted Council on Environmental Justice flowed smoothly, one moment during the day revealed that tensions still linger from the last iteration of the body. After more than half a dozen residents of Cumberland and Powhatan counties turned out to plead for help in their […]

Northam announces assistance for locked-out Blackjewel miners

By: - July 10, 2019

Gov. Ralph Northam on Wednesday announced several relief efforts to assist hundreds of Virginia miners affected by the July 1 bankruptcy of major U.S. coal producer Blackjewel, LLC, which operates 10 mines in the southwestern portion of the state. Describing himself as “deeply concerned by the sudden closure of Blackjewel LLC and the significant impact […]

In Virginia, observers saw warning signs for Blackjewel collapse, but what comes next is unclear

By: - July 9, 2019

NORTON — Despite its characterization of its Chapter 11 filing for bankruptcy as a surprise, major U.S. coal producer Blackjewel, LLC, showed signs of being in trouble for months prior, some Virginia miners and observers said. According to a July 5 update from the company to its employees, “unexpected disputes” between Blackjewel and investment firm […]

Neither unemployed nor allowed to work: Virginia’s Blackjewel miners look for relief

By: - July 8, 2019

WISE — One week after the nation’s sixth-largest coal producer filed for bankruptcy, the almost 500 Virginia miners sent home from work and deprived of their last paychecks still have no answers — and no relief. Information comes only through social media, say miners from Blackjewel, LLC’s 10 Virginia facilities. Their last paychecks, issued June […]

Mining company bankruptcy stills 10 mines in southwest Virginia

By: - July 3, 2019

The owner of 10 mining facilities in southwestern Virginia filed for bankruptcy this week, potentially dealing another blow to the state’s shrinking coal mining industry. On July 1, West Virginia-based Blackjewel, LLC, along with its affiliated holding and management companies, filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the Southern District of […]

Charlottesville pledges to become carbon neutral by 2050

By: - July 2, 2019

The Charlottesville City Council took aggressive action Monday night to curb greenhouse gas emissions, becoming Virginia’s first locality to set a target of carbon neutrality by 2050. The resolution, reported by the Daily Progress, followed on the heels of the council’s June 2017 commitment to the Global Covenant of Mayors for Climate & Energy, which […]

Virginia’s first offshore wind project gets underway

By: - July 1, 2019

Virginia’s first offshore wind energy project began construction Monday morning at an unexpected place: onshore. Eventually, two massive turbines will be erected by Danish company Ørsted Energy 27 miles off the coast of Virginia Beach as part of Dominion Energy’s Coastal Virginia Offshore Wind Project. But the July 1 groundbreaking for the project focused on […]

A ‘long, creeping change’: As climate warms, Virginia fisheries struggle to adapt

By: - June 24, 2019

George Washington had few dietary preferences, save one: he was “excessively fond” of fish. Luckily for the president, his perch at Mount Vernon afforded him an easy opportunity to indulge. The Potomac, he recorded in 1793, was “well-stocked with various kinds of fish in all Seasons of the year, and in the Spring with Shad, […]

Did briefing on proposed Charles City gas plant ‘come close enough’ to statutory requirements?

By: - June 19, 2019

Regulators from the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality raised questions about whether the company seeking an air permit to build a massive gas plant in Charles City County met statutory requirements for informing the public of the project’s impacts, emails from the agency show. The permit for the 1,650-megawatt plant, being developed by Chickahominy Power, […]

Will it stay or will it go? After court ruling, fate of Dominion’s James River transmission line is uncertain

By: - June 18, 2019

A federal appeals court has decided to let a lower court determine whether the key permit underpinning Dominion Energy’s controversial James River transmission line should be overturned, which leaves the already-completed $400 million project in legal limbo. On May 31, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia turned down petitions by Dominion […]

Supreme Court upholds Virginia’s ban on uranium mining

By: - June 17, 2019

The U.S. Supreme Court on Monday upheld Virginia’s ban on uranium mining after decades of wrangling over the issue. “Congress conspicuously chose to leave untouched the states’ historic authority over the regulation of mining activities on private lands within their borders,” wrote Justice Neil Gorsuch for the court. “We are hardly free to extend a […]

Fones Cliffs developer files for bankruptcy

By: - June 13, 2019

The developer of a proposed golf course at the environmentally sensitive and historically significant Fones Cliffs on the banks of the Rappahannock River has filed for bankruptcy, court filings show. On May 3, Benito Fernandez, the president of Virginia True Corporation, filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the Eastern District […]