Dominion Energy’s new programs are really about limiting choices

BY: - July 22, 2019

An annual survey conducted by Yale and George Mason universities shows concern about climate change is surging. Seventy-three percent of Americans think climate change is happening, and 69% are at least somewhat worried about it, the highest percentages since the surveys began in 2011.  Another Yale survey found that “a large majority of registered voters […]

Coal-dependent counties facing ‘fiscal tsunami,’ report finds

BY: - July 22, 2019

As U.S. coal production decreases, local governments in mining-dependent areas whose public services and debt rely on a robust coal industry are facing what one recent report called a “fiscal tsunami.” “A sharp decline in coal production jeopardizes the fiscal health of local governments, degrading their abilities to provide adequate public services and issue and […]

‘Can’t ignore reality’: Army Corps grapples with after-the-fact assessment of James River power lines

BY: - July 19, 2019

WILLIAMSBURG — On a map propped on an easel in a dimly lit conference room of the Hilton DoubleTree, the transmission line across the James River looks like one of a dozen alternatives for bringing power to northern Hampton Roads. But about six miles away, off the map and on the ground, the line takes […]

Researchers to quit USDA rather than leave Washington metro area

BY: - July 17, 2019

WASHINGTON — As the Trump administration prepares to move two Agriculture Department research agencies and more than 500 jobs out of the nation’s capital region, many of the agencies’ employees appear ready to quit their jobs rather than leave their homes. Democratic lawmakers in Virginia have attempted, so far unsuccessfully, to put the brakes on […]

Summer of the spud: Virginia potato prices more than double

BY: - July 16, 2019

It’s the Summer of the Potato in Virginia, where ideal growing conditions at home and poor ones elsewhere have conspired to produce a bumper crop for farmers that is fetching unusually high prices on the market. “We had timely rains during planting and growing season, but it turned hot and dry just before harvest,” said […]

AGs call on federal officials to secure wage payments for Blackjewel miners

BY: - July 16, 2019

The attorneys general of Virginia and Kentucky today appealed to the federal Office of the U.S. Trustee to force the payment of clawed-back wages owed to hundreds of miners employed by Blackjewel, LLC, which declared bankruptcy July 1. The strongly worded July 16 letter from Virginia Attorney General Mark Herring and Kentucky Attorney General Andy […]

In Appalachia, a massive forest is conserved, but mining can still proceed beneath its roots

BY: - July 15, 2019

A massive land acquisition by the Nature Conservancy has created a block of forestland in the heart of the Central Appalachian coalfields that may be disturbed by an activity typical of the region but atypical of conservation sites: mining. Early Monday morning, the global environmental nonprofit announced it had added 153,000 acres in Virginia known […]

At reconvened Council on Environmental Justice, tensions linger

BY: - July 15, 2019

While most of the inaugural meeting of Gov. Ralph Northam’s newly reconstituted Council on Environmental Justice flowed smoothly, one moment during the day revealed that tensions still linger from the last iteration of the body. After more than half a dozen residents of Cumberland and Powhatan counties turned out to plead for help in their […]


MVP’s violations show ‘complete absence of any and all meaningful regulation’

BY: - July 15, 2019

Ever since Mountain Valley Pipeline first proposed to gouge a 303-mile long, 125-foot wide scar across the heart of the Appalachian Mountains, countless experts have warned of the uncontrollable erosion the project would provoke. These warnings have since proven to be well founded: We have witnessed sediment-laden water flowing off the right-of-way and into adjacent […]

Dominion’s carbon cutting plans aren’t good enough

BY: - July 14, 2019

Mercury readers will be shocked, shocked to learn that contrary to Dominion Energy’s propaganda, the company plans to cut carbon emissions by only about 1% per year between now and 2030, a slower pace than it has achieved in the past.  According to an analysis of Dominion’s own data by the Energy and Policy Institute, […]

Northam announces assistance for locked-out Blackjewel miners

BY: - July 10, 2019

Gov. Ralph Northam on Wednesday announced several relief efforts to assist hundreds of Virginia miners affected by the July 1 bankruptcy of major U.S. coal producer Blackjewel, LLC, which operates 10 mines in the southwestern portion of the state. Describing himself as “deeply concerned by the sudden closure of Blackjewel LLC and the significant impact […]

In Virginia, observers saw warning signs for Blackjewel collapse, but what comes next is unclear

BY: - July 9, 2019

NORTON — Despite its characterization of its Chapter 11 filing for bankruptcy as a surprise, major U.S. coal producer Blackjewel, LLC, showed signs of being in trouble for months prior, some Virginia miners and observers said. According to a July 5 update from the company to its employees, “unexpected disputes” between Blackjewel and investment firm […]