Virginia’s growing statewide trail network needs more effective environmental oversight

BY: - May 12, 2023

By Wally Smith Last month, Virginia’s State Trails Advisory Committee met in Harrisonburg. The Committee’s slate of business included the applicability of environmental laws to the Commonwealth’s recreational trails, with officials hosting discussions about how various water quality regulations apply to trail projects. That discussion has been a long time coming. Trails may not seem high […]

Can redevelopment save Richmond’s Gilpin Court?

BY: - May 11, 2023

Pipes that repeatedly burst above her bed, old fridges that barely keep food cold and stoves with no child safety protections are just a few of the frustrations that Fredericka has faced throughout the course of the 13 years she has been a resident of Gilpin Court. Despite all of the problems, her toddler still […]

Law? What law? Pandering to the governor, Dominion’s new plan ignores Virginia’s climate law

BY: - May 10, 2023

Last December, Dominion Energy produced a remarkable document: a climate report predicting that by 2040 its electricity supply will be dominated by renewable energy. Coal will be gone by 2030, and methane gas will hang around in ever-smaller amounts, just to fill in the energy gaps. Small modular nuclear reactors (SMRs) probably won’t play a […]

By trying to demolish DEI initiatives, Va. Republicans dig in on history’s wrong side

BY: - May 8, 2023

It’s a drumbeat these days in the party of Big MAGA: Diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) is something to be despised, defeated and destroyed. In the past couple of weeks, Virginia’s most powerful Republicans have joined the parade by pandering in a legislative election year to the GOP’s white, anti-DEI base. First, the state’s chief […]

Virginia’s Langley-Eustis base shares toxic PFAS legacy similar to NC’s Camp Lejeune

BY: - May 5, 2023

By Jonathan Sharp For nearly a century, countless service members have been inadvertently placed in harm’s way due to the U.S. military’s negligent use and disposal of chemical hazards on or near its installations. In instances such as North Carolina’s infamous Camp Lejeune Marine Corps Base, contamination occurred unabated for over three decades. Between 1953 […]

Despite ceaseless slayings, Virginians keep combating gun violence

BY: - May 4, 2023

It’s difficult to maintain hope that we can reduce gun violence when so many shootings – from the spraying of bullets at a Sweet Sixteen party in Alabama, to a senseless execution of family members in Texas, to the sentencing in the slayings of a Fairfax County couple – suggest the opposite. So it’s essential […]

Land value taxes could cut homeowners’ costs. Why haven’t Virginia localities enacted them?

BY: - May 3, 2023

Republicans rarely encounter a tax cut they don’t like. But this year, a bill which could have lowered homeowners’ property taxes in one locality was killed on a party-line vote. HB 2112 from Del. Sally Hudson, D-Charlottesville would have enabled the city to become only the fifth locality in Virginia to progress from a reliance […]

There’s more to Senator Warner’s local press resolution than a commendation

BY: - May 1, 2023

My eye was drawn to a short story in the Virginia Mercury last week about the commonwealth’s senior U.S. senator, Mark Warner, supporting a resolution that endorses the need for robust, independent local news organizations. The 338-word piece by Meghan McIntyre was rich with alarming statistics about brutal declines local news organizations have suffered from […]

GOP operative’s screed against voting practices isn’t based on facts

BY: - April 27, 2023

There are two primary ways to win elections:   You can encourage citizens to turn out en masse for your party’s candidate. Or you can install barriers for people who want to choose the other side’s nominee. Cleta Mitchell, a top Republican Party operative, just proved again her side is much too dependent on the latter. […]

Pocahontas Island’s next lifetime

BY: - April 26, 2023

Having devoted the latter part of his life to preserving Pocahontas Island in Petersburg, Richard A. Stewart, the island’s honorary mayor, is gone, dead at age 79. In the wake of the stalwart community historian’s death, though, the island lives on, primed for its second wind. As it did during his lifetime, Stewart’s presence looms […]

Is hydrogen a miracle solution for climate, or the new ethanol?

BY: - April 25, 2023

The hydrogen gold rush is on. Spurred by the urgency of the climate crisis, and attracted by generous incentives in last year’s Inflation Reduction Act, companies ranging from oil majors to small start-ups are pouring money into the Next Big Thing in energy: a fuel that is flexible, transportable and carbon-free.  Is hydrogen a critical […]

Ahead of D.C. Metro re-automation, WMATA must show greater transparency

BY: - April 24, 2023

The Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority (WMATA)’s recent announcement of Automatic Train Operation (ATO)’s return represents a fresh start for metro automation. However, this news does not come without safety reservations from the D.C. Metro rider base, and WMATA will need to be more transparent about critical test data to prove the reliability of its […]