Author

Sarah Vogelsong

Sarah Vogelsong

Sarah is Editor-in-Chief of the Mercury and previously its environment and energy reporter. She has worked for multiple Virginia and regional publications, including Chesapeake Bay Journal, The Progress-Index and The Caroline Progress. Her reporting has won awards from groups such as the Society of Environmental Journalists and Virginia Press Association, and she is an alumna of the Columbia Energy Journalism Initiative and Metcalf Institute Science Immersion Workshop for Journalists. She is a graduate of the College of William and Mary. Contact her at [email protected]

Virginia coal production climbs

By: - June 8, 2022

Virginia coal production remains high, fueled by ongoing demand for steel as the U.S. embarks on an ambitious program of infrastructure investment and disruptions in energy markets linked to the war in Ukraine.  Today, most of the coal produced in Virginia is metallurgical, a high-quality form of coal used for steelmaking.  “Overall, demand for metallurgical […]

Flood Fund oversight to remain with executive branch 

By: - June 6, 2022

Virginia’s Community Flood Preparedness Fund, a pot of millions of dollars earmarked for community flood protection work across the state, will remain under the oversight of the executive branch despite recent legislative efforts to shift authority to an appointed citizen board.  Gov. Glenn Youngkin has vetoed legislation that would have transferred administration of the Flood […]

After months of wrangling, Virginia has a budget deal. What’s in it?

By: and - June 1, 2022

Lawmakers, lobbyists, activists and other Virginia Capitol watchers were scrambling Tuesday to speed-read a 370-page budget deal that was quietly released over a long holiday weekend, the product of months’ worth of secretive negotiations between a select few legislators from the Republican House of Delegates and the Democratic Senate. Gov. Glenn Youngkin, who has repeatedly […]

Va. Supreme Court will hear appeal in contentious Wegmans distribution center case

By: - May 31, 2022

The Supreme Court of Virginia will hear an appeal of two lower court rulings that found that residents living near a massive planned Wegmans distribution center project in Hanover didn’t have standing to challenge local officials’ approval of the project.  “The essence” of the Hanover Circuit rulings “is that literally no one can challenge the […]

Nuclear will be major for Virginia’s electric grid as utilities decarbonize, regulator says

By: - May 27, 2022

Dominion Energy’s two existing nuclear plants “may become more important to the transmission system” as Virginia and the utility move to decarbonize the power grid by midcentury, a hearing examiner with the Virginia State Corporation Commission says. Under the 2020 Virginia Clean Economy Act, Dominion and Appalachian Power, the state’s two largest electric utilities, are […]

Virginia’s first presumed monkeypox case detected, health officials say

By: - May 26, 2022

Virginia health officials announced they have detected the state’s first presumed case of monkeypox in Northern Virginia woman who recently traveled to an African country where the disease is known to occur.  In a Thursday news release, State Health Commissioner Dr. Colin Greene said the patient “is currently isolating and does not pose a risk […]

Predatory residential solar installers could sow mistrust, advocates fear

By: - May 25, 2022

Norfolk resident John Luker knew that when he started asking solar companies how much it would cost to put panels on his roof, price estimates would vary.  But he didn’t know they’d range from $17,560 to $66,888 over the life of the installation.   As part of research for the Chesapeake Bay Group of the Sierra […]

Federal solar import investigation slows Virginia projects

By: - May 23, 2022

A federal investigation into solar imports from four Southeast Asian countries responsible for supplying most of the panels and cells used in the United States is delaying many Virginia solar projects, although the state’s largest electric utilities have told investors they don’t expect to see significant financial impacts.  In a May 1 letter to President […]

Feds seize 145 dogs and puppies from Cumberland beagle breeding facility

By: and - May 20, 2022

Federal agents have seized 145 dogs and puppies found to be “in acute distress” from a controversial Cumberland County beagle breeding facility operated by global biotechnology company Envigo.  “Envigo has employed a paltry number of employees and elected to euthanize beagles or allowed beagles to die from malnutrition, treatable and preventable conditions, and injuries resulting […]

At Dominion wind hearings, continued disputes over ratepayer protections

By: - May 20, 2022

After two and a half days of testimony in Richmond, consumer protection advocates continue to disagree with Dominion Energy over whether regulators should require further safeguards for ratepayers as the utility seeks approval for its plans to build a massive wind farm off the coast of Virginia Beach.  “There is no blank check for this […]

Eight Virginia groups join request for Federal Trade Commission to investigate electric utility industry

By: - May 19, 2022

Eight Virginia organizations have joined more than 230 consumer, environmental and public interest groups in asking the Federal Trade Commission to investigate electric industry practices that they say “impede renewable energy competition and harm consumer protection.”  “Today, abusive utility practices are leading to increased electricity rates, obstruction of clean energy competitors in the face of […]

Virginia receives a big boost in federal funds for brownfields work

By: - May 19, 2022

Virginia has been awarded a record amount of federal dollars to lay the groundwork for the cleanup of contaminated or potentially contaminated sites known as brownfields in the cities of Emporia and Newport News and the towns of Appalachia and Blackstone.  This month, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency awarded the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality […]