Green New Deal rally

General Assembly will decide whether to build environmental justice into Virginia law

BY: - January 13, 2020

Two years after Virginia established its first formal advisory body on environmental justice, legislators will weigh several bills proposing to weave the principle into the daily workings of state governance. “Environmental justice isn’t just theoretical. It actually happens all the time,” said Del. Mark Keam, D-Fairfax, who has put forward one bill making an advisory […]

On environment, lawmakers to grapple with everything from small fish to global shifts

BY: - January 9, 2020

As if they didn’t have enough on their plates with energy legislation, lawmakers this session are set to consider a vast array of environmental bills, ranging from small fish (menhaden) to problems perplexing leaders worldwide (climate change). What unified policies, if any, will emerge from this pastiche of concerns and proposals is largely unclear, as […]


DEQ’s failure on compressor station review is another sign new leadership is needed

BY: - January 9, 2020

On Jan. 7, 2019, I posed the following question about the Atlantic Coast Pipeline compressor station proposed for Union Hill: “Is an African-American community in rural Virginia the right place to put a massive compressor station for a natural gas pipeline? This is the question the Virginia Air Pollution Control Board will consider at its […]

Federal court overturns Union Hill compressor station permit

BY: - January 7, 2020

Calling Virginia’s review of a controversial compressor station in the historic Buckingham County freedmen’s community of Union Hill “arbitrary and capricious,” a federal court on Tuesday stripped the facility of its permit and ordered the State Air Pollution Control Board to reconsider the case. The decision is the latest blow to the Atlantic Coast Pipeline […]

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

The strange case of thermal energy

BY: - January 7, 2020

Renewable energy advocates are hoping that 2020 will be the year Virginia finally begins to make wind and solar the centerpiece of its energy planning, rather than a grudging add-on. The General Assembly will consider at least two bills that adopt a mandatory renewable portfolio standard as well as legislation to lower carbon emissions and […]

With new Democratic leadership, General Assembly faces flood of energy proposals

BY: - January 6, 2020

The week after elections swept Democrats to power in the General Assembly, environment and clean energy activists struggled to get their sea legs in the new ocean of possibilities that suddenly opened up before them. “I think everyone’s a little surprised by the power dynamics and the shift in the political calculus,” said Tim Cywinski, […]


The time has come: Congress must fully fund the Land and Water Conservation Fund

BY: - January 3, 2020

By Rebecca Rubin Our country’s lands and waters are more than stunning natural features. They are the very foundation of our health, security, way of life and all life itself. This is why Congress established the Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF) in 1964, which uses revenues from the depletion of one natural resource — […]


Climate change threat doesn’t get the Y2K urgency

BY: - January 3, 2020

By Jay Bookman Take a moment to think back to simpler times, to a long-gone era exactly 20 years ago this week, when we celebrated the dawn of a new millennium under the shadow cast by Y2K. Remember all that? Y2K was a universal computer glitch that threatened to shut down power grids, paralyze banking […]

Natural gas development is speeding up in Virginia. Legislators will have to square that with state climate goals.  

BY: - December 30, 2019

This September, Gov. Ralph Northam took the stage at the inaugural Virginia Clean Energy Summit to announce he was committing the state to a carbon-free grid by 2050. “I always say that I want Virginia to be a welcoming place, with our lights on and our doors open,” he said. “Well, I also want those […]

The State Corporation Commission

More natural gas infrastructure proposed for second Charles City plant

BY: - December 20, 2019

More natural gas infrastructure may be on the way in Virginia as plans move forward for a major new plant in Charles City County. No, not the Chickahominy Power Station. A different privately financed natural gas plant known as C4GT is driving a recent application by Virginia Natural Gas to construct 24 new miles of […]

Federal government orders Virginia menhaden fishery shut down

BY: - December 19, 2019

There is no joy in Reedville — mighty Omega has struck out. On Thursday U.S. Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross ordered Virginia’s menhaden fishery, the largest on the East Coast, shut down after Reedville-based Omega Protein exceeded a fishing cap set by the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission. “A moratorium on fishing for Atlantic menhaden […]

Cumberland landfill sign

Waste company slashes size of controversial Cumberland landfill

BY: - December 16, 2019

The company behind a controversial mega-landfill in Cumberland County has eliminated one of two cells from its plans, reducing the area where waste can be dumped by more than half. The change “significantly reduces” the project’s impact on both wetlands and the surrounding communities, said Jay Smith, a spokesperson for the Green Ridge Recycling and […]