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]

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 […]

SCC considers ‘prudence’ of Dominion’s 2015 Chesterfield investments

By: - June 11, 2019

Dominion Energy faced pointed questions from a State Corporation Commission judge Tuesday over whether the utility should have spent several hundred million dollars in 2015 to retrofit two of its coal-fired units to comply with new state and federal environmental regulations. “Dominion moved forward that spring on retrofitting these plants knowing that [under] the Clean […]

Democratic legislators call on court to overturn Union Hill permit

By: - June 10, 2019

Twenty-eight Virginia General Assembly members are urging a federal court to overturn a controversial permit granted by the State Air Pollution Control Board for a compressor station key to the Atlantic Coast Pipeline on the grounds that it would irreparably harm Buckingham County’s historic freedman’s community of Union Hill. “Placing the industrial site in that […]

Virginia adds new lands to old-growth forest portfolio

By: - June 5, 2019

Virginia’s bank of old-growth forest grew by 280 acres Wednesday after the Capital Region Land Conservancy formally recognized the induction of the James River Park System’s parklands, under easement, into the national Old-Growth Forest Network. Today, less than 1% of the East Coast’s forests are considered “old growth,” with fewer remaining in the South than […]

‘A starting point:’ Virginia takes steps to protect striped bass numbers in Chesapeake Bay

By: - April 28, 2019

With stock assessments showing declines for the Atlantic’s prized striped bass population, Virginia last week closed its spring recreational season for trophy-sized fish ahead of possible action by the regional council that oversees fisheries along the coast. The emergency closure, which received unanimous support from the Virginia Marine Resources Commission, was hailed by Commissioner Steven […]

You’ve heard of cap-and-trade. But what about cap-and-dividend?

By: - April 25, 2019

Maybe you’ve heard of cap-and-trade, but what about “cap and dividend?” Even as Virginia moves to limit the amount of carbon it allows power plants to release, a Northern Virginia Democratic congressman is pushing again for federal action to drive down emissions of the greenhouse gas driving climate change. U.S. Rep. Don Beyer, D-8th, who […]

Biggest piece of Spotsylvania solar farm approved

By: - April 10, 2019

After months of deliberation, the Spotsylvania County Board of Supervisors on Tuesday night approved a special use permit for the largest piece of a planned solar farm that, if built as proposed, would be the biggest on the East Coast. The supervisors, who split 5-2 on the vote, with Chairman Paul Trampe and Courtland District […]

Comment closes Wednesday on permit for giant new natural gas power plant in Charles City

By: - March 19, 2019

A proposed new natural gas-fired power plant in Charles City County, which, if built, would be among the largest power generators in the state, has sparked few objections, even as other new gas infrastructure has faced a contentious path to approval.  Only three people spoke at a hearing hosted by the Virginia Department of Environmental […]

Hundreds pack into contentious Spotsylvania meeting on solar project; supervisors delay decision

By: - February 27, 2019

After a marathon nine-hour meeting at which more than 100 people spoke, the Spotsylvania Board of Supervisors delayed a decision on whether a massive solar facility will be built in the western part of the county. Just before 1:30 a.m. Wednesday, the board voted to continue its discussion of all three sites involved in the […]

Virginia’s biggest proposed solar project is also among its most contentious local land use fights

By: - February 25, 2019

As a proposal to construct the largest solar energy facility on the East Coast prepares to go before the Spotsylvania County Board of Supervisors Tuesday night, determined opposition from some neighbors highlights the tension between what locals want in their backyards and growing demand for renewable energy. This January, the Spotsylvania Planning Commission recommended the […]

Virginia farmers see lots of promise in hemp, though uncertainty around economic benefits remains

By: - January 30, 2019

While the legalization of marijuana in the commonwealth remains elusive, potential economic benefits may persuade Virginia legislators to lift restrictions on the plant’s cousin, hemp, bringing the state in line with new federal regulations.  The 2019 session of the General Assembly saw the filing of five new bills that would remove barriers to the cultivation […]

Virginia farmers get money to help clean up the bay

By: - January 11, 2019

A Virginia region that is an unlikely but critical partner in the commonwealth’s efforts to clean up the Chesapeake Bay has been selected as one of the recipients of more than $1.7 million in federal and matching funds: the Shenandoah Valley. Last month, the U.S. National Fish and Wildlife Foundation announced that it would channel […]