Northam pledges $20 million to electric school bus purchases

BY: - September 24, 2019

After deliberately evading federal emissions standards, Volkswagen was forced to pay out billions in compensation. Now Gov. Ralph Northam has pledged to put $20 million of Virginia’s portion of that settlement toward the purchase of zero-emission school buses. The new program, which will be run by the Department of Environmental Quality, will allow public school […]

Four things to know about Dominion’s massive wind farm proposal

BY: - September 24, 2019

Dominion Energy announced last week it filed plans to build what would be the United States’ largest offshore wind farm, capable of producing 2,600 megawatts of energy, or enough to power 650,000 homes. The news was heralded by environmentalists as an important step in the state’s transition away from fossil fuels, one in line with […]


Virginia can’t reach its 2050 climate goal if it keeps allowing natural gas infrastructure

BY: - September 24, 2019

By Sam Bleicher, Rebecca R. Rubin and Roberta A. Kellam On Sept. 16, Gov. Ralph Northam announced a forward-looking objective of achieving 100 percent renewable electricity for Virginia by 2050. Unfortunately, Virginia cannot reach this goal if the governor, the General Assembly, and the state air and water control boards continue rubber-stamping natural gas pipelines […]

Caroline County Virginia soybean field

In farm bailout, southeastern counties reap rewards

BY: - September 20, 2019

If granted three wishes, Virginia farmers hit hard by the China-U.S. trade war might ask first for good growing weather, second for an end to the yearlong conflict and third for an address in Southampton County or the city of Franklin. Why? Because farmers there are entitled to the highest payouts in the state under […]


The ‘Reverse Robin Hood’ rides again

BY: - September 19, 2019

Autumn? Fall? Samhain? Nah. There’s only one name for the time between Labor Day and Election Day: the Silly Season. Once, it referred largely to the news desert doldrums of August, but it’s more or less applicable to our politics year-round these days. Flacks of all persuasions and affiliations are aggressively shopping what’s know as […]

The State Corporation Commission

Renewable energy providers cleared to operate in Virginia

BY: - September 18, 2019

Two renewable energy providers will be allowed to operate in Virginia after the State Corporation Commission ruled Wednesday that they meet state standards for selling renewable energy and don’t need to measure up to more stringent benchmarks proposed by Dominion Energy, the commonwealth’s largest utility. The ruling means that Virginia consumers will continue to be […]

Northam calls for carbon-free electric grid by 2050

BY: - September 17, 2019

In a surprise executive order Tuesday morning, Gov. Ralph Northam issued a sweeping directive committing Virginia to making its electric grid 100 percent carbon free by 2050. “Virginia’s policy structures have historically focused on the traditional power sector model of large, centralized power stations and conventional transmission and distribution infrastructure,” the text of the order […]

Dominion, Navy, Walmart and government groups spar over utility’s request to boost profits

BY: - September 13, 2019

Over seven hours of testimony spanning two days, Virginia’s largest utility and a diverse array of consumer protection, business and government groups battled before the State Corporation Commission over whether Dominion Energy investors should get a bump in their guaranteed profits. The case, which Dominion attorney Joseph Reid noted had sparked “a lot of charged […]

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

Ignoring state climate rules, Dominion decides what carbon regulations should look like

BY: - September 13, 2019

For several years now, Dominion Energy Virginia has factored into its plans an assumption that electricity from carbon-emitting power plants will eventually include a cost reflecting CO2’s role as the primary driver of global warming. Dominion says it has even integrated this into its corporate goals, targeting an 80 percent reduction in CO2 emissions by […]

Enviva Southampton biomass plant

DEQ calls for stricter pollution controls at Enviva wood pellet plant, but some environmentalists say enforcement is overdue

BY: - September 12, 2019

FRANKLIN — In the old mill town of Franklin, the streets smell of gasoline and fast food, peanuts by the millions and wood — mostly wood. To some, it’s the smell of money, an indicator of the industry that keeps the local economy going. To others, it’s a reminder of the hazardous air pollution that […]

U.S. House votes to block offshore drilling expansion; White House threatens veto

BY: - September 11, 2019

WASHINGTON — U.S. House lawmakers approved bipartisan legislation Wednesday that would block new offshore drilling off the majority of the nation’s coast, including Virginia, despite pushback from many Republicans. The legislation would put in place far-reaching new protections, barring drilling off most of the Atlantic and Pacific coasts. Lawmakers are scheduled to vote Thursday on […]

Roadside exhaust sniffers caught almost 900 vehicles in Northern Va. last year

BY: - September 10, 2019

Little green boxes placed on roadsides around Northern Virginia to automatically sample passing vehicles’ exhaust generated just under 900 air quality violations last year, which are mailed to the offending vehicle’s owner along with a photo and instructions to make repairs or face a fine. The program is part of an effort to improve air […]