Author

Sarah Vogelsong

Sarah Vogelsong

Sarah is the Mercury's environment and energy reporter, covering everything from utility regulation to sea level rise. Originally from McLean, she has spent over a decade in journalism and academic publishing. She previously worked as a staff reporter for Chesapeake Bay Journal, the Progress-Index and the Caroline Progress, and her work has been twice honored by the Virginia Press Association as "Best in Show" for online writing. She was chosen for the 2020 cohort of the Columbia Energy Journalism Institute and is a graduate of the College of William and Mary. Contact her at [email protected]

More delays, cost increases for Mountain Valley Pipeline

By: - May 4, 2021

Mountain Valley Pipeline announced Tuesday morning it would push back its completion date to summer 2022 and raise the expected price tag of the project to $6.2 billion.  The setbacks are the latest for the controversial 303-mile pipeline planned to carry natural gas from the Marcellus and Utica shale fields in West Virginia into southern […]

Fire was once the forester’s enemy. Now it’s a tool for regenerating Appalachia’s forests.

By: - May 4, 2021

HIGHLAND COUNTY — On the warmest day of 2021 yet, the fire swept over Summers Mountain in a remote corner of Highland, a Virginia county so lightly populated that cattle outnumber humans by almost seven times. At times the fire moved with startling rapidity, fast as an arrow of flame. Watching it spread along the […]

As it takes up another contentious permit, air board wrestles with public engagement

By: - April 29, 2021

Just months after an eight-hour meeting to consider a controversial air permit for the Norfolk Naval Shipyard, the Virginia State Air Pollution Control Board is readying itself for another marathon session to consider granting an air permit to a compressor station that would be built in Chatham as part of a planned offshoot of the […]

Groups ask Virginia environmental officials to reopen Chickahominy Power permit

By: - April 27, 2021

Three groups are asking Virginia to reopen an air permit issued to Chickahominy Power in 2019 for a proposed natural gas plant in Charles City County, contending that the state’s analysis of the facility’s environmental justice impacts “contains many of the same defects” of a state air permit struck down by a federal court in […]

Federal group says Southwest Virginia is fourth most coal-dependent area in U.S.

By: - April 23, 2021

A federal working group convened to examine how the economies of communities dependent on fossil fuels can be revitalized as the nation transitions to renewable energy has identified Southwest Virginia as the fourth most coal-dependent area in the U.S.  The finding, which is based on the percentage of total direct coal jobs relative to all […]

As bat disease continues its deadly march, study finds it’s killed more than 90 percent of three species

By: - April 23, 2021

Virginia is one of many states hard hit by a fungal disease known as white-nose syndrome, which according to a study published Tuesday has killed more than 90 percent of northern long-eared, little brown and tri-colored bats in the U.S. over the past decade. “Virginia populations have suffered really severe impacts from white-nose syndrome, so […]

Virginia DEQ announces new Environmental Justice Office

By: - April 22, 2021

The Virginia Department of Environmental Quality on Thursday announced the formation of a new Environmental Justice Office, in line with a key recommendation issued last fall by a consultant hired by the agency to assess how it could better handle environmental justice issues. The new office “is the result of DEQ’s efforts to address environmental […]

Virginia landowners urge FERC to require cancelled Atlantic Coast Pipeline to relinquish easements

By: - April 21, 2021

Several dozen landowners who granted easements to the developers of the Atlantic Coast Pipeline are asking federal regulators to require the pipeline to give them up now that the project has been cancelled.  “I signed an easement agreement in October 2018 because I felt I had no choice,” wrote Judy Allen in comments filed with […]

State Water Control Board turns down ‘speculative’ water permit request

By: - April 19, 2021

The Virginia State Water Control Board last week denied a proposal by the owners of Cranston’s Mill Pond in James City County to withdraw millions of gallons of water per day to sell to potential buyers, drawing a hard line against what state officials have cast as speculative use of a public good.  The Virginia […]

Potomac River Generating Station/Mirant power plant

Council on Environmental Justice asks Northam to institute fossil fuel infrastructure ban

By: - April 16, 2021

The Virginia Council on Environmental Justice is asking Gov. Ralph Northam to issue a moratorium on all new fossil fuel projects and permits in the state. In an April 7 letter signed by 12 members of the 21-person advisory body, the council argues that a ban is necessary “to avoid future devastation” and calls on […]

‘Slow the spread’ has been a COVID rallying cry. Va. officials have done it for a deadly deer disease for years.

By: - April 14, 2021

The descriptions sound like a scene from a hunter’s horror movie. A deer staggers across a lawn, with unseeing eyes and drunken gait. Or maybe it is standing in a stream, drinking and drinking until it urinates but still will not stop, as if compelled to keep taking in water. Or it stands frozen in […]

King George coal plant to be converted to solar and storage

By: - April 14, 2021

The owner of a former coal plant in King George County intends to redevelop the site as a solar and energy storage facility in another move by Virginia’s power sector away from fossil fuels to renewables.  J-POWER USA, a subsidiary of Tokyo-headquartered power producer J-POWER, announced earlier this April that it plans to repurpose the […]