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.

Report: Department of Defense ‘precariously unprepared’ for climate change risks

By: - November 5, 2019

If the stalwart presence of the U.S. military in Virginia makes you feel safer in an uncertain world plagued by sea level rise and climate change, a recent report by the U.S. Army War College would like to disabuse you of that sense of security. According to “Implications of Climate Change for the U.S. Army,” […]

On nation’s biggest proposed offshore wind farm, Dominion plans to fly solo

By: - November 1, 2019

Dominion Energy intends to move forward alone with developing the nation’s largest proposed offshore wind farm, an enterprise estimated to cost $8 billion, top utility leaders indicated to investors in a third-quarter earnings call Friday morning. “The project will be developed and owned by Dominion Energy Virginia, with regulated cost recovery subject to approval by […]

Dominion’s green energy package comes with a catch: coal. Businesses aren’t happy.

By: - October 30, 2019

Dominion Energy’s newest plan for a renewable energy package that environmentally conscious customers can buy is causing some big businesses, including Walmart, to push back against what they call “an unattractive offering.” Why? Companies and an industry group that represents some of Virginia’s and the nation’s largest employers have two complaints. First, the portfolio of […]

At compressor station hearing, sharp questions on environmental justice

By: - October 29, 2019

Virginia state agencies and the Atlantic Coast Pipeline came under sharp questioning by the 4th Circuit Court of Appeals in Richmond Tuesday concerning whether environmental justice concerns had been adequately heard in a controversial decision to site a compressor station in the predominantly African American community of Union Hill. Repeatedly, Chief Judge Roger Gregory pushed […]

Virginia at risk of sanctions after Omega announces it will exceed menhaden cap

By: - October 29, 2019

The regional commission that oversees the East Coast’s most important fisheries on Monday laid the groundwork for disciplinary action against Virginia after Omega Protein announced last month that it planned to exceed the menhaden harvest cap in the Chesapeake Bay. The unanimous decision to find Virginia out of compliance with the cap, made at a […]

Mountain Valley Pipeline’s cost rises to $5.5 billion, completion pushed to 2020

By: - October 22, 2019

The developer of the Mountain Valley Pipeline again raised the estimated cost of the project and pushed back its completion date after federal regulators last week ordered construction stopped because of concerns over impacts to endangered and threatened species. EQM Midstream Partners, LP, the operator of Mountain Valley Pipeline, said in a news release Tuesday […]

Renewable energy will power almost half of Virginia government by 2022

By: - October 18, 2019

Virginia’s state government will get 45 percent of its energy from renewable sources by 2022, officials announced Friday morning, exceeding a target established by Gov. Ralph Northam in a recent executive order committing the state to making its electric grid carbon free by 2050. Both Dominion Energy, Virginia’s largest electric utility, and the governor’s office […]

Federal commission orders work stopped on Mountain Valley Pipeline

By: - October 16, 2019

The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission on Tuesday ordered that all work on the Mountain Valley Pipeline stop except stabilization and restoration activities. The order, outlined in a Tuesday letter from FERC’s Office of Energy Projects, follows on the heels of a federal appeals court ruling Friday that pressed pause on a key permit for the […]

Large algae blooms are spreading in the James. Blame the drought.

By: - October 16, 2019

The fall foliage may be dull, but parts of the James River are slightly brighter this October thanks to the “flash drought” that has gripped much of the Southeast for the past month. East of Hopewell, the largest blooms of algae detected in the James in several years are spreading as a lack of precipitation […]

‘They’re critically important’: Virginia’s ash trees are under siege

By: - October 14, 2019

The emerald ash borer looks like nothing so much as an Elvis impersonator in insect form. When hit with light, its green and gold body sparkles as if the bug is wearing a sequined jumpsuit; its eyes, glistening protuberances that consume most of its head, command attention. Both the insect and the impersonator are objects […]

Mountain Valley Pipeline agrees to pay Virginia $2.15 million for environmental violations

By: - October 11, 2019

Virginia and Mountain Valley Pipeline have resolved a lawsuit brought by the state against the company for environmental violations that caused significant erosion in the southwestern part of the commonwealth, with the natural gas pipeline developer agreeing to pay a $2.15 million civil penalty. The payment was described by Virginia Attorney General Mark Herring as […]

maple syrup tapping

For decades, maple syrup was one of Virginia’s best-kept secrets. Now climate change may spell its end.

By: - October 9, 2019

For years, the chirping of the spring peeper frogs was one of Valerie Lowry’s signals that the maple sugar season was coming to an end. Twice the frogs would emerge, filling the Highland County air with their familiar call, and twice they would quiet. On their third appearance, Lowry knew, the sap would stop running, […]