ENERGY + ENVIRONMENT

Former State Water Control Board member talks with EPA criminal investigators

BY: - January 23, 2019

Former State Water Control Board Member Roberta Kellam says she has provided a statement to U.S. Environmental Protection Agency criminal investigators. The news, first reported by The Roanoke Times and confirmed by the Mercury, comes as a pair of Roanoke attorneys are seeking a criminal investigation into alleged violations of civil and criminal laws by the Mountain […]

COMMENTARY

In wake of compressor station vote, Northam’s order reconstitutes environmental justice advisory council

BY: - January 23, 2019

After a vote on what had become Virginia’s most high-profile environmental justice issue — the contentious natural gas compressor station proposed for Buckingham County by Dominion Energy as part of its Atlantic Coast Pipeline  — Gov. Ralph Northam is reconstituting an advisory council that urged him last year to halt the project. The former members […]

COMMENTARY

Six senators vote against Northam’s pick to lead environmental agency

BY: - January 22, 2019

Gov. Ralph Northam disappointed some members of his transition team and left environmental groups seething last year when he reappointed David Paylor to his longtime job as director of the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality. Business interests, including the state’s big utilities, chief among them Dominion Energy, like Paylor’s light touch with the regulatory powers […]

COMMENTARY

National wildlife refuge system, inspired and created by Theodore Roosevelt, imperiled by government shutdown

BY: - January 21, 2019

There is no greater land conservation system in the world than the U.S. National Wildlife Refuge System. And that system, always under-resourced, is now further imperiled by the ongoing government shutdown. Managed by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and spanning 850 million acres of land and water, the refuge system is the world’s largest […]

Some energy donors gave Democrats more than Republicans

BY: - January 18, 2019

Editor’s Note: See below for correction from VCU’s Capital News Service. By Daniel Berti/Capital News Service In a break from past years, some large energy-related political donors gave more money to Virginia Democrats than to Republicans in 2018, according to campaign finance reports posted Friday by the Virginia Public Access Project. For example, United Co., […]

COMMENTARY

Former state board member was accused of ‘working for the opposition’ after raising concerns about pipeline construction damage

BY: - January 18, 2019

Visiting the Mountain Valley Pipeline construction corridor in southwest Virginia was a promise I made to  local residents while I was a member of the State Water Control Board. It was a promise that wasn’t kept until Jan. 2, when I toured many farms and residential lands impacted by the MVP construction activities. Unfortunately, it […]

COMMENTARY
The State Corporation Commission

State Corporation Commission rejects billions in Dominion grid spending

BY: - January 17, 2019

Proving it still has some teeth left despite the General Assembly’s best efforts, the State Corporation Commission has rejected billions in proposed spending by Dominion Energy it had sought permission to recover from its customers under the sweeping utility regulations signed into law last year. Though the commission did approve about $155 million in spending […]

COMMENTARY

Your guide to clean energy and climate bills this session (blink and you might miss them)

BY: - January 17, 2019

Clean energy and climate action are mainstream concepts with the public these days, but at Virginia’s General Assembly they have yet to gain much traction. Last year saw one renewable energy bill after another die in committee, along with legislation mandating lower energy use through energy efficiency and climate measures like having Virginia join the […]

Another push for a plastic bag tax in Virginia dies

BY: - January 16, 2019

Environmental advocates tried again to staunch the flow of plastic bags into Virginia’s waterways Wednesday, but to no avail. Sens. J. Chapman Petersen, D-Fairfax City, and Adam Ebbin, D-Alexandria, proposed allowing localities to add a 5-cent tax to plastic bags. Petersen’s bill would have limited the range of the bill to localities in the Chesapeake […]

COMMENTARY
Dominion's power station in Chesterfield in Sept 2017.

How the conversation on coal ash has changed

BY: - January 15, 2019

In an ideal world, we might expect agencies charged with protecting people and the environment to always do the right thing within the limits of the law regardless of who sits in the governor’s mansion. But because we live in the real world, of course, political leadership matters a great deal. Consider the history of […]

Virginia farmers get money to help clean up the bay

BY: - January 11, 2019

A Virginia region that is an unlikely but critical partner in the commonwealth’s efforts to clean up the Chesapeake Bay has been selected as one of the recipients of more than $1.7 million in federal and matching funds: the Shenandoah Valley. Last month, the U.S. National Fish and Wildlife Foundation announced that it would channel […]

COMMENTARY

Appalachian Power gets approval to sell 100 percent renewable energy to customers. Hold the champagne.

BY: - January 10, 2019

This week the State Corporation Commission  approved a request from Appalachian Power Company  to offer its more than 500,000 Virginia customers the option of buying electricity entirely from renewable sources. The sources will be primarily wind and hydro, with some solar to be added as it gets built. Participants who opt in will pay a premium […]