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]

Federal court won’t give pipeline injunction to remove tree sitters 

By: - August 4, 2019

A federal court on Friday denied Mountain Valley Pipeline’s request for a preliminary injunction against two unnamed tree sitters who have been blocking the company from clearing land for construction for almost a year. The opinion by Judge Elizabeth Dillon in the U.S. District Court for the Western District in Virginia refuses to grant the […]

DEQ orders work stopped on Mountain Valley Pipeline section

By: - August 2, 2019

The Virginia Department of Environmental Quality on Friday issued a stop-work instruction for a two-mile section of the Mountain Valley Pipeline in Montgomery County after an inspection found that the company hasn’t been adequately controlling erosion. DEQ Director David Paylor said in a statement that the department was “appalled that construction priorities and deadline pressures […]

Federal government says Virginia is overcalculating too many SNAP payments

By: - July 31, 2019

Virginia got a slap on the wrist this week and may be subject to financial penalties after the federal government found that the state had one of the highest rates of error in the nation in calculating its food-assistance payments. According to data released Tuesday by the U.S. Department of Agriculture Tuesday, Virginia miscalculated its […]

FERC: Southgate pipeline would have ‘some adverse impacts’ that could be reduced

By: - July 30, 2019

The proposed Southgate pipeline, which would link the Mountain Valley Pipeline in Virginia with North Carolina, “would result in some adverse impacts” that could be “reduced to less-than-significant levels,” the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission said in a draft environmental impact statement released Friday. Under the National Environmental Policy Act, an environmental impact statement must be […]

A new tick plus a new disease equals a double threat to Virginia cattle

By: - July 30, 2019

The cause of the seven cows’ deaths wasn’t immediately clear. All of the animals died between late summer and fall of 2017 in Albemarle County, the prosperous, semi-agricultural county that surrounds the city of Charlottesville. Another cow on the property, sick but alive, was found with signs of anemia, weakness and respiratory distress. Fearing the […]

The State Corporation Commission

‘Unjustified and unreasonable’: Navy, Walmart, attorney general and legal aid workers oppose Dominion’s profit push

By: - July 28, 2019

Federal and state agencies, Walmart and a group advocating on behalf of low-income Virginians have emerged as unlikely bedfellows in an effort to push back against a proposal by Dominion Energy Virginia to increase the profits that its shareholders can reap. The U.S. Navy, testifying on behalf of the federal executive agencies, called the proposal […]

Another permit overturned for beleaguered Atlantic Coast pipeline 

By: - July 26, 2019

A mussel, a bat, a bee and a blind crustacean are once again blocking the construction of the 600-mile-long Atlantic Coast Pipeline backed by Dominion Energy. On Friday morning, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 4th Circuit for the second time overturned a key project permit issued by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service […]

Coal-dependent counties facing ‘fiscal tsunami,’ report finds

By: - July 22, 2019

As U.S. coal production decreases, local governments in mining-dependent areas whose public services and debt rely on a robust coal industry are facing what one recent report called a “fiscal tsunami.” “A sharp decline in coal production jeopardizes the fiscal health of local governments, degrading their abilities to provide adequate public services and issue and […]

‘Can’t ignore reality’: Army Corps grapples with after-the-fact assessment of James River power lines

By: - July 19, 2019

WILLIAMSBURG — On a map propped on an easel in a dimly lit conference room of the Hilton DoubleTree, the transmission line across the James River looks like one of a dozen alternatives for bringing power to northern Hampton Roads. But about six miles away, off the map and on the ground, the line takes […]

Summer of the spud: Virginia potato prices more than double

By: - July 16, 2019

It’s the Summer of the Potato in Virginia, where ideal growing conditions at home and poor ones elsewhere have conspired to produce a bumper crop for farmers that is fetching unusually high prices on the market. “We had timely rains during planting and growing season, but it turned hot and dry just before harvest,” said […]

AGs call on federal officials to secure wage payments for Blackjewel miners

By: - July 16, 2019

The attorneys general of Virginia and Kentucky today appealed to the federal Office of the U.S. Trustee to force the payment of clawed-back wages owed to hundreds of miners employed by Blackjewel, LLC, which declared bankruptcy July 1. The strongly worded July 16 letter from Virginia Attorney General Mark Herring and Kentucky Attorney General Andy […]

In Appalachia, a massive forest is conserved, but mining can still proceed beneath its roots

By: - July 15, 2019

A massive land acquisition by the Nature Conservancy has created a block of forestland in the heart of the Central Appalachian coalfields that may be disturbed by an activity typical of the region but atypical of conservation sites: mining. Early Monday morning, the global environmental nonprofit announced it had added 153,000 acres in Virginia known […]