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.

Port of Va. to lease land to Danish wind company for East Coast hub

By: - January 28, 2020

With an eye to becoming the East Coast hub for the fledgling U.S. offshore wind industry, Virginia on Tuesday morning signed a deal with Danish wind energy giant Ørsted to lease land at the Portsmouth Marine Terminal for a staging and equipment site. “We have the potential to drive offshore wind for Virginia, but also […]

As schools look to solar, existing state law shuts down further development

By: - January 27, 2020

When 2020 dawned, every school in rural Middlesex County on the Middle Peninsula was entirely powered by solar.  Superintendent Peter Gretz had been working toward this moment since shortly after he arrived in Middlesex in July 2016. To him, the decision had been a no-brainer. Installing solar let the district be what he called “responsible […]

The State Corporation Commission

Proposal to increase State Corporation Commission size draws sharp questions

By: - January 23, 2020

In a narrow 10-9 vote, the House Labor and Commerce Committee on Thursday signed off on a bill that would increase the size of the State Corporation Commission, the powerful body that oversees all Virginia utility regulation, as well as insurance, banking and securities, from three to five members. Since the SCC’s creation in 1902, […]

Senate committee signs off on permanent environmental justice council

By: - January 22, 2020

A proposal to make the Virginia Council on Environmental Justice a permanent body cleared its first hurdle Wednesday evening when the Senate Committee on General Laws and Technology voted 14-1 to forward it to the full chamber for consideration. The bill, put forward by Democratic Sen. Mamie Locke of Hampton, would create a standing advisory […]

Virginia Explained: Why stormwater poses an increasing challenge for Virginia

By: - January 22, 2020

On July 8, as rush hour clogged the roads of Alexandria, a slow-moving southbound storm caused a deluge of rain to fall over the city. And fall. And fall. And fall. All throughout the Washington, D.C. metropolitan area, precipitation and flood records were shattered. By the end of a single hour, 3.44 inches of rain […]

Senate committee gives the nod to nuclear as part of renewables transition

By: - January 21, 2020

After a slow start, the General Assembly is beginning to take up energy bills. The Senate Commerce and Labor Committee on Monday signed off on a set of updates to the Commonwealth Energy Policy, as well as proposals to classify nuclear energy as clean energy and develop a strategic plan for how nuclear energy contributes […]

Caroline County Virginia soybean field

2019 was good for cotton, bad for soybeans and tobacco in Virginia

By: - January 17, 2020

Virginia farmers last year saw big bumps in cotton thanks to favorable weather, but soybeans and tobacco suffered as a result of the China-U.S. trade war. The commonwealth produced 22 percent more cotton in 2019 than it did in 2018, according to numbers released by the Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services in conjunction […]

Cows graze in Tazewell County. One dairy farm a week has closed in Virginia this year. (Josh/Flickr/Creative Commons 2.0)

Goodbye almond milk, hello nut beverage? Lawmakers advance milk labeling bill.

By: - January 15, 2020

Virginia Beach Del. Barry Knight’s milk bill cleared its first hurdle Wednesday afternoon when the House Agriculture Subcommittee voted 7-1 to pass it on for consideration to the larger Agriculture, Chesapeake and Natural Resources Committee. The measure, which defines milk as “the lacteal secretion, practically free of colostrum, obtained by the complete milking of a […]

Northam ‘discussing’ whether to take legal action against Pennsylvania, EPA over Bay cleanup

By: - January 15, 2020

Gov. Ralph Northam is weighing legal action against Pennsylvania over its Chesapeake Bay cleanup plan, which falls short of the state’s commitments to reduce pollutants that make it into the bay. On Jan. 8, Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan announced he was directing his state’s attorney general to pursue an action against both Pennsylvania and the […]

In Virginia and U.S., urban heat islands and past redlining practices may be linked, study finds

By: - January 15, 2020

The rich may get richer and the poor poorer, as the saying goes, but in a world increasingly altered by climate change, the poor may also be getting hotter — especially if they’re people of color. So finds a study released Monday in Climate journal by Science Museum of Virginia Chief Scientist Jeremy Hoffman, Portland […]

Pawpaws may become Virginia’s official state fruit. What’s behind their rise in popularity?

By: - January 14, 2020

Appalachian banana. Hillybilly mango. Quaker delight.  Call the pawpaw by any name you like, but if one House of Delegates member has her way, make sure you also call it Virginia’s state fruit. Native to Virginia and growing mainly in forests, pawpaws have been enjoying an unexpected moment in the sun. Cidermakers and wineries have […]

Green New Deal rally

General Assembly will decide whether to build environmental justice into Virginia law

By: - January 13, 2020

Two years after Virginia established its first formal advisory body on environmental justice, legislators will weigh several bills proposing to weave the principle into the daily workings of state governance. “Environmental justice isn’t just theoretical. It actually happens all the time,” said Del. Mark Keam, D-Fairfax, who has put forward one bill making an advisory […]