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.

Virginia aims to improve water quality by transporting tons of poultry waste around the state

By: - October 4, 2019

Virginia has a novel new approach to meeting its water quality goals: moving chicken waste around the state. As the 2025 deadline for Chesapeake Bay cleanup approaches, the commonwealth is vastly expanding a program that transports poultry litter — a product that includes not only fowl excrement but also leftover bedding and uneaten feed — […]

The most important profession fighting sea-level rise you’ve never heard of

By: - October 2, 2019

VIRGINIA BEACH — Billy Almond knows Virginia Beach. He knows where the roads meet the water and where, increasingly, the water is rising to meet the roads. He remembers what the city looked like when he was a child on 84th Street, where when he stepped out of the house he saw the Atlantic Ocean […]

Regional coalition outlines path to curb vehicle emissions in Virginia and 12 other jurisdictions

By: - October 1, 2019

From Maine to Virginia, carbon capping may be coming — this time for cars. On Tuesday, the Transportation and Climate Initiative, an effort by 12 states and Washington, D.C. to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from vehicles, released a draft framework for a “cap and invest” system that would bring the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic region’s carbon […]

Rubbermaid fined $184,000 for air pollution violations

By: - September 26, 2019

A Rubbermaid distribution center in Winchester will have to pay an $184,500 fine to the state after the Department of Environmental Quality found that the facility had “knowingly and blatantly constructed and operated” machines that violated state emissions limits. The settlement was announced Wednesday afternoon by Attorney General Mark Herring’s office. The Winchester Star reports: […]

Northam pledges $20 million to electric school bus purchases

By: - September 24, 2019

After deliberately evading federal emissions standards, Volkswagen was forced to pay out billions in compensation. Now Gov. Ralph Northam has pledged to put $20 million of Virginia’s portion of that settlement toward the purchase of zero-emission school buses. The new program, which will be run by the Department of Environmental Quality, will allow public school […]

Four things to know about Dominion’s massive wind farm proposal

By: - September 24, 2019

Dominion Energy announced last week it filed plans to build what would be the United States’ largest offshore wind farm, capable of producing 2,600 megawatts of energy, or enough to power 650,000 homes. The news was heralded by environmentalists as an important step in the state’s transition away from fossil fuels, one in line with […]

Caroline County Virginia soybean field

In farm bailout, southeastern counties reap rewards

By: - September 20, 2019

If granted three wishes, Virginia farmers hit hard by the China-U.S. trade war might ask first for good growing weather, second for an end to the yearlong conflict and third for an address in Southampton County or the city of Franklin. Why? Because farmers there are entitled to the highest payouts in the state under […]

The State Corporation Commission

Renewable energy providers cleared to operate in Virginia

By: - September 18, 2019

Two renewable energy providers will be allowed to operate in Virginia after the State Corporation Commission ruled Wednesday that they meet state standards for selling renewable energy and don’t need to measure up to more stringent benchmarks proposed by Dominion Energy, the commonwealth’s largest utility. The ruling means that Virginia consumers will continue to be […]

Northam calls for carbon-free electric grid by 2050

By: - September 17, 2019

In a surprise executive order Tuesday morning, Gov. Ralph Northam issued a sweeping directive committing Virginia to making its electric grid 100 percent carbon free by 2050. “Virginia’s policy structures have historically focused on the traditional power sector model of large, centralized power stations and conventional transmission and distribution infrastructure,” the text of the order […]

Dominion, Navy, Walmart and government groups spar over utility’s request to boost profits

By: - September 13, 2019

Over seven hours of testimony spanning two days, Virginia’s largest utility and a diverse array of consumer protection, business and government groups battled before the State Corporation Commission over whether Dominion Energy investors should get a bump in their guaranteed profits. The case, which Dominion attorney Joseph Reid noted had sparked “a lot of charged […]

Enviva Southampton biomass plant

DEQ calls for stricter pollution controls at Enviva wood pellet plant, but some environmentalists say enforcement is overdue

By: - September 12, 2019

FRANKLIN — In the old mill town of Franklin, the streets smell of gasoline and fast food, peanuts by the millions and wood — mostly wood. To some, it’s the smell of money, an indicator of the industry that keeps the local economy going. To others, it’s a reminder of the hazardous air pollution that […]

Potomac Yard, Alexandria, Virginia, 1980s

In Potomac Yard’s quest for smart growth, wetlands end up on the chopping block

By: - September 10, 2019

SANDSTON — A dozen people turned out to the State Water Control Board’s meeting Friday to voice their support for the destruction of an acre and a half of wetlands along the Potomac River in the name of environmental responsibility. Once, such an argument would have been unthinkable. But as the swelling urgency of climate […]