Besides cutting spending, Northam’s budget tackles a Hampton Roads seabird problem

BY: - April 21, 2020

Gov. Ralph Northam’s 144 budget amendments aren’t just about cutting new spending as Virginia braces itself for at least $1 billion in revenue losses as a result of the coronavirus pandemic. They are also, in one instance, about birds — specifically, gull-billed terns — and a massive expansion of the Hampton Roads Bridge-Tunnel that has […]


The Atlantic Coast Pipeline is looking like a riskier investment every day

BY: - April 20, 2020

By Thomas Hadwin When announcing the Atlantic Coast Pipeline, its owners, including Dominion Energy, said the project is essential for us to have the energy we need, will save us millions of dollars each year, foster economic development and be a windfall for shareholders. Events since the announcement demonstrate that none of the claims are […]

The State Corporation Commission

Regulators approve major electric rate increase for Old Dominion Power

BY: - April 16, 2020

The State Corporation Commission has approved a rate increase for the roughly 30,000 Southwest Virginians who get their electricity from Old Dominion Power, with the bump set to go into effect May 1.  In their April 6 order, regulators allowed the utility, which is the Virginia unit of Kentucky Utilities and the state’s smallest investor-owned […]

Beating the virus: Farmers markets and growers adjusting to COVID-19 restrictions

BY: - April 15, 2020

For Holly Hammond, face-to-face interactions were the only way to sell the plant starts and vegetables she grows with her husband, James, on their farm, Whisper Hill, in Scottsville. When the threat of coronavirus became apparent at the beginning of March, just as the spring market season was approaching, she had a swift change of […]

Virginia lawmakers agreed to join a regional carbon market. Here’s what happens next.

BY: - April 14, 2020

A year after Republican resistance stalled Virginia’s effort to cap carbon emissions from large producers of the greenhouse gas at the forefront of climate change, the wheels are again in motion: Virginia is joining the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative. Joining the cap-and-invest program was one of Democrats’ top legislative priorities for the 2020 General Assembly […]

Confusion over park safety produces a patchwork of pandemic policies

BY: - April 13, 2020

Even on a blustery day with winds gusting to more than 20 miles per hour, parks all around Richmond saw brisk traffic Friday as residents eager to escape the confines of their homes during the COVID-19 pandemic looked to nature for relief. To some, keeping parks open is a public necessity, providing a place to […]

Dominion Energy's downtown Richmond building. (Ned Oliver/Virginia Mercury)

After Clean Economy Act, Dominion says ‘significant build-out’ of new gas plants no longer viable

BY: - April 10, 2020

Although it has not yet been signed into law by Gov. Ralph Northam, the Virginia Clean Economy Act passed by the General Assembly this March has already spurred changes to the long-term plans of Dominion Energy, the state’s largest electric utility. On March 24, Dominion asked regulators to waive a requirement that as part of […]


FERC has a big pipeline problem

BY: - April 10, 2020

The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission has a pipeline problem. A really, really big one. According to publicly available information on FERC’s website, the commission approved no fewer than 46 onshore gas pipeline “mega-projects” from 1997 to 2019. These largest-of-the-large pipeline projects consist of gas pipelines measuring 24 to 42 inches in diameter, with over 100 […]

At Virginia universities, a struggle to define ‘essential’ science

BY: - April 8, 2020

Since 1955, scientists from the Virginia Institute of Marine Science have been trawling the waters of the Chesapeake Bay to find out just what lies beneath the surface. Croaker, blue catfish, spot, blue crab, the flat brown fish known as the hogchoker — all have passed through the nets of these fishers of knowledge. Over […]

Virginia has bet big on oysters. But amid the pandemic, no one’s buying them.

BY: - April 6, 2020

2020 was supposed to be Rogue Oysters’ year. The four-year-old enterprise founded by husband-wife duo Taryn Brice-Rowland and Aaron Rowland in the Northern Neck community of Lancaster had already taken a hit early in its life when record-breaking rains swept through Virginia in 2018, diluting the salty waters where the bivalve thrives and wiping out […]

Despite EPA decision, Virginia says polluters must ‘make every effort’ to comply with environmental regulations

BY: - April 1, 2020

Virginia will not relax its enforcement of environmental regulations despite an announcement by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency last week that it won’t impose civil penalties on polluting facilities that don’t comply with routine monitoring and reporting obligations during the coronavirus pandemic. “All regulated entities are expected to make every effort to comply with environmental […]


With a framework for Virginia’s energy transition in place, here’s what happens next

BY: - March 31, 2020

With Democrats in charge, Virginia passed a suite of bills that establish a sturdy framework for a transition to renewable energy in the electric sector. At the center of this transformation are the Clean Economy Act, HB1526/SB851, and the Clean Energy and Community Flood Preparedness Act, HB981/SB1027. Other new laws direct further planning, make it […]