Youngkin steps into the D.C. swamp with Wheeler pick

BY: - January 24, 2022

By Michael Town One of the best ways to tell how an administration intends to govern is by who they surround themselves with – the people they tap to lead agencies and the individuals who will be in the room as decisions are being made. Gov. Glenn Youngkin’s nomination of Andrew Wheeler, a former coal […]

Wildlife officials want to be able to legally possess nutria — in order to wipe them out

BY: - January 24, 2022

Virginia wildlife officials have been working since the 1960s to wipe out a giant rodent known as a nutria, which in captivity can be a lucrative source of fur but in the wild can rapidly transform wetlands into barren mudflats by eating away at vegetation. Blessed with a prominent set of curved front teeth and […]

A ferry passes the General Dynamic shipyard in Norfolk. (Ned Oliver/Virginia Mercury)

$320 million headed to Norfolk Harbor, flood protection projects

BY: - January 20, 2022

Norfolk will receive $320 million in federal funds to deepen and widen its harbor as well as construct a major flood protection system to shield the city’s downtown from recurrent flooding linked to sea level rise.  “Typically the way we get money for projects of this scale and magnitude is after a disaster,” said Norfolk […]


The GOP offensive against climate action begins

BY: - January 20, 2022

Even before taking office, Gov. Glenn Youngkin made two rookie mistakes: he declared his intention to pull Virginia out of the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative by executive order, not realizing it can only be done by legislation; and he nominated the much-reviled Trump-era EPA chief Andrew Wheeler to be his secretary of natural resources, apparently […]

As Republicans threaten two years of climate legislation, Democrats go on defense

BY: - January 20, 2022

With Republican Gov. Glenn Youngkin moving to withdraw Virginia from a regional carbon market and a new Republican majority in the House of Delegates pledging to amend a sweeping decarbonization law passed in 2020, Democrats are going on defense to protect what they see as their party’s signature environmental achievements of the past two years.  […]

Federal pipeline standards backed by top energy regulator after Colonial Pipeline hack

BY: - January 20, 2022

New federal powers are needed to prevent major energy disruptions like the cyberattack on the Colonial Pipeline that left the East Coast short of gas at the pumps for days, the chairman of the federal commission overseeing energy and some U.S. House Democrats said Wednesday. A House Energy and Commerce subcommittee discussed a proposal by […]

‘Make it more environmentally sound’: Citizen group takes on popular Southwest Va. trail network

BY: - January 19, 2022

A network of popular off-roading trails through Southwest Virginia has been wracked by two years of contentious fights over drainage problems between state regulators, trail officials and citizen activists. The Spearhead Trails are four months into new leadership, and a little more than half a year into a binding agreement that outlines its responsibilities to […]

Republican anger, progressive concern combine in push to ban political spending by utilities

BY: and - January 17, 2022

Legislative proposals to curb Virginia utilities’ political contributions may be gaining new traction in Richmond as old resentments over a 2015 utility rate freeze law combine with progressive Democrats’ skepticism of utility influence and Republican anger over Dominion Energy’s contributions to a shadowy PAC attacking Gov. Glenn Youngkin during the 2021 elections. Del. Lee Ware, […]

Franklin International Paper mill

‘Carrot and stick’ regulations aim to increase shallow aquifer use

BY: - January 17, 2022

After Virginia lawmakers moved to tighten use of the critical deep aquifers that supply drinking water to most of the state’s eastern population, new regulations designed to increase use of shallower reserves are being rolled out.  “There’s been long-standing acknowledgment that moving people to the surficial aquifer is a way to take pressure off the […]

Chesapeake Bay’s waters could suffer extreme heat for half the year by 2100

BY: - January 14, 2022

A study by two researchers from the Virginia Institute of Marine Science has found that the frequency of heat waves in the waters of the Chesapeake Bay is increasing, a trend connected to rising atmospheric temperatures that could have “devastating impacts to the bay ecosystem,” the scientists warn. “The results are really robust. It’s really […]

Herring says Youngkin can’t pull Virginia out of carbon market by executive action

BY: - January 11, 2022

An official advisory opinion from outgoing Democratic Virginia Attorney General Mark Herring says Republican Gov.-elect Glenn Youngkin cannot withdraw the state from a regional carbon market solely through executive action.  “The Constitution of Virginia does not grant the governor the power to suspend laws, and in fact, it requires the opposite that ‘the governor shall […]

Dominion asks permission to withdraw proposed increase in carbon market costs 

BY: - January 11, 2022

Dominion Energy is asking regulators for permission to withdraw an application to raise the costs to Virginia ratepayers for the state’s participation in a regional carbon market, citing “uncertainty” due to Gov.-elect Glenn Youngkin’s pledge to pull Virginia out of the program.  By halting any future cost increases, “customers will benefit to the extent they […]