In Southwest Virginia, farmers and brewers hope for a grain renaissance

BY: - September 14, 2021

ST. PAUL — On a quiet Thursday afternoon in St. Paul, a town of about 850 that sits on the banks of the Clinch River straddling Wise and Russell counties, Greg Bailey was filling a growler of Scotch ale.  Beer has a colorful history in these parts. Once it flowed like water: so rowdy was […]


Tired of subsidies?

BY: - September 14, 2021

Some while back I was engaged in an online discussion with other solar advocates about renewable energy — specifically, how to get more of it built. Some of the participants I knew, others I did not. The conversation was lively, ranging from the need for better education to public policy and incentives. But then one […]

Groups say racially-charged Northam administration report misrepresents tax credit program

BY: - September 13, 2021

Land conservation groups angered by the Northam administration’s portrayal of a popular tax credit program as inequitable say that instead of diverting its funding to more targeted grant programs, the General Assembly and the governor need to channel more money to conservation broadly.  “We agree we should fully fund the grant programs, and the land […]

Va. Native American tribes acquiring more lands for cultural and environmental preservation

BY: - September 9, 2021

Over the past three years, the Chickahominy Tribe in Charles City County received nearly $7 million in state funding to acquire and preserve tribal lands, staving off development and improving water quality in the Chesapeake Bay watershed.  The current plan for the $3.5 million provided by the General Assembly this year is to purchase more […]

Bay states seek new federal funding initiative for farm cleanup

BY: and - September 8, 2021

Virginia Agriculture and Forestry Secretary Bettina Ring and her counterparts from the five other Chesapeake Bay states are seeking a sit-down with U.S. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack to discuss a proposal to pump extra federal funding into a concerted effort to clean up the Bay. Ring and the other state  agriculture officials are embracing a […]

Natural gas developer asks SCC to rule it doesn’t need state approval to build Chickahominy Pipeline

BY: - September 8, 2021

A pipeline company linked to a planned natural gas plant in Charles City County is asking state regulators to rule that it doesn’t need their approval to build a pipeline to channel gas from existing lines to the facility.  Chickahominy Pipeline, LLC “has determined that it is impracticable and unfeasible to procure an adequate supply […]


Reforms needed at Virginia electric co-ops

BY: - September 3, 2021

By Seth Heald Summer is annual-meeting time at Virginia’s 13 electric cooperatives. Like all consumer cooperatives, electric co-ops are owned by their customers (called “member-owners”) and are supposed to be democratically governed. The key to genuine democratic control is board-of-director elections, which happen at each co-op’s annual meeting, where member-owners can vote for board candidates. […]

A world burning up and under water must finally act on climate change

BY: - September 2, 2021

By Rose Hendricks and Mark Reynolds Two recent Mercury articles send an incredibly clear message: the effects of climate change are here in Virginia right now, and they’re only going to intensify. First, Sarah Vogelsong’s article “Report says climate change will have ‘increasingly disruptive effect’ on coastal Va.” details the statewide repercussions of rising sea […]


Cleaning up ‘forever chemicals’ must be a federal priority

BY: - September 1, 2021

The U.S. Senate faces a long to-do list when it reconvenes next month. U.S. Rep. Gerry Connolly, D-Fairfax,  wants to be sure an important but fairly obscure environmental health bill makes the list.  It passed the House in July, thanks in part to Democratic members of our congressional delegation, and now awaits action in the […]

On Shenandoah River, algae and bacteria continue to plague recreation — and human health

BY: - August 31, 2021

On the rolling river of old song, new growth is troubling the waters.  When summer temperatures rise and waters slow, long strands of algae emerge in many parts of the Shenandoah and its North and South Forks. Thick and dense enough to form floating mats, they catch kayakers’ paddles and fishermen’s rods and deter swimmers […]


Electrify Virginia homes now

BY: - August 30, 2021

By Chris Meyer and Ross Wood Recent extreme weather events such as the heat domes in the Western United States directly or indirectly impacted millions of people. Unfortunately, these events will likely become more frequent, eventually impacting Virginia as well, despite our traditionally more moderate climate. So, what can we do now to make our […]


What do we owe to each other?

BY: - August 27, 2021

The politicization of coronavirus vaccines and mask-wearing has been a depressing reminder of the downside of American individualism. The successful functioning of a free republic depends on people taking personal responsibility for their actions. Too often now that translates into a disregard for the rights of others, coupled with an insistence that our own opinions, […]