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.

Northern Virginia continues to dominate advanced energy jobs, report shows

By: - August 8, 2019

Advanced energy jobs continue to be largely clustered in major metro areas in eastern Virginia, a report released this week by a national energy industry business group shows. According to data from Advanced Energy Economy, the largest number of advanced energy jobs in Virginia are found in Fairfax County, the state’s largest locality. Fairfax, population […]

Despite legislative blocks, one form of carbon cap-and-trade is alive and well in Virginia

By: - August 7, 2019

Carbon cap-and-trade ended with a whimper in Richmond this past spring when Republican budget additions blocked the state from participating in the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative and Gov. Ralph Northam declined to issue a veto. But in southwestern Virginia, it’s business as usual. In the Appalachian Mountains that surround the Clinch River Valley, vast forests […]

SCC partially approves Dominion rider that will increase bills

By: - August 5, 2019

Electric bills will go up for Dominion customers after the State Corporation Commission on Monday approved the utility’s request to recoup some of the costs it sank into complying with new federal and state environmental regulations in 2015 — but maybe not as much as the company would have liked. The SCC’s decision allows Dominion […]

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 […]