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]

One of this year’s biggest solar bills is all about forests and farms

By: - March 10, 2022

Two years after the Clean Economy Act set sweeping targets for renewable energy development across Virginia, the General Assembly is trying to balance a boom in solar construction with the desire to preserve farmland and forests.  In more rural parts of the state, particularly in the wealthier upper Piedmont region, some residents have complained about […]

General Assembly agrees to end ban on Sunday public land hunting

By: - March 7, 2022

After years of debate, both chambers of Virginia’s General Assembly have agreed to get rid of a state law prohibiting hunting on public lands in the commonwealth on Sundays, signaling the days are numbered for a ban that can be traced back to the 17th century.  “I’m glad to see that all lands will now be […]

House Republicans torpedo bills giving Virginia tribes state consultation rights

By: - March 7, 2022

Virginia law will continue to not require state agencies to consult with the commonwealth’s seven federally recognized tribes on projects and plans that could affect them after House Republicans killed two proposals to enshrine the right in statute this session.  “I just can’t get myself comfortable yet with the legislation as it is at this […]

Virginia’s contentious ‘right to retrieve’ law remains intact 

By: - March 3, 2022

Virginia’s controversial “right to retrieve” law allowing hunters to go on other people’s property without permission to retrieve hunting dogs will remain on the books unchanged after two bills that would have slightly tweaked it failed in the Senate.  Both pieces of legislation were killed Tuesday by the Senate Agriculture, Conservation and Natural Resources Committee.  […]

Push to accelerate Richmond combined sewer fix halted in House 

By: - March 2, 2022

Legislation that would have accelerated a state-imposed timeline for Richmond to finish separating its stormwater and sewer systems by five years has died after a House panel halted its progress Monday night.  The proposal from Sen. Richard Stuart, R-Stafford, Senate Bill 354 is “dead,” Stuart’s office confirmed Wednesday.  The bill, which would have moved up […]

Proposal to forbid local gas bans dropped in Senate

By: - March 2, 2022

A controversial proposal to forbid local governments from banning or limiting use of natural gas has been dropped after House Majority Leader Terry Kilgore revamped a bill Tuesday in a bid to ensure legislation providing businesses with certainty about gas service makes it through the Senate.  The last-minute change caught many lawmakers and business, utility […]

Bill stripping citizen air and water boards of permitting power headed to governor

By: - February 28, 2022

A Senate bill that will remove permitting power from Virginia’s citizen air and water boards and transfer it to the Department of Environmental Quality cleared the House of Delegates Monday and is headed to Gov. Glenn Youngkin’s desk.  “This is the final vote we will take,” Del. Sam Rasoul, D-Roanoke, told lawmakers while urging them […]

Biogas bill gains bipartisan support but opposition from environmental groups

By: - February 28, 2022

The General Assembly is poised to pass legislation that will encourage the state’s natural gas utilities to invest in projects that could capture and reduce emissions of methane, a greenhouse gas that’s 25 to 30 times more effective than carbon dioxide at trapping heat in the atmosphere.  “From my point of view, if the methane’s […]

Budgets call for polystyrene ban delay, despite 2021 compromise

By: - February 24, 2022

Despite last year’s compromise involving a phased state ban on food containers made from a plastic foam called polystyrene, both chambers of Virginia’s General Assembly are moving forward with budget language that would delay implementation by five years.  Language in both budgets would push back the date the ban will go into effect until July […]

electric vehicle charging station

Money for electric vehicle rebates appears unlikely

By: - February 23, 2022

Prospects for funding Virginia’s electric vehicle rebate program, which was created in 2021 but never given any money, appear dim. Neither the Republican-led House of Delegates’ proposed budget for the next two years nor the Democrat-led Senate’s include any funding for the EV rebate program, despite requests by Del. David Reid, D-Loudoun, and Sen. Jennifer […]

Equitrans says it’s still committed to Mountain Valley Pipeline but completion date uncertain

By: - February 22, 2022

The developer behind the Mountain Valley Pipeline told investors Tuesday that the company is still committed to completing the embattled project but is unsure when it will enter service due to repeated judicial rulings stripping it of necessary permits.  While recent decisions by the U.S. 4th Circuit Court of Appeals “are in our view wrong […]

Legislation repealing Virginia Clean Economy Act rejected by Senate panel  

By: - February 21, 2022

A Senate panel on Monday swiftly rejected a Republican proposal to repeal the Virginia Clean Economy Act, a 2020 law that commits the state’s electric grid to decarbonizing by 2050.  All three Democrats on the five-person Senate Energy Subcommittee and Minority Leader Tommy Norment, R-James City, voted against the proposal. Sen. Stephen Newman, R-Bedford, was […]