Commentary

A Senate vote on federal criminal justice reform is a long overdue good start

BY: - December 17, 2018

In early 1987, I was assigned the city cops and courts beat at The Richmond News Leader. My tenure on that beat coincided with the rapid increase in the city’s murder rate, which at one point was the second highest in the country. It was a horrible time in the city, especially on the East […]

What’s up with the SCC and gas?

BY: - December 14, 2018

Dominion Energy Virginia employees were briefing a stakeholder group on the company’s Integrated Resource Plan last Friday morning when text messages started popping up on phones all over the room: the State Corporation Commission had just rejected the IRP and ordered a do-over. Awkward. The SCC has never rejected a Dominion IRP before, mostly because […]

‘If I were Dominion I’d be panicked:’ Federal court vacates another Atlantic Coast Pipeline permit

BY: - December 13, 2018

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the 4th Circuit, based in Richmond, vacated another permit for Dominion Energy’s Atlantic Coast Pipeline Thursday, this time concluding that the U.S. Forest Service lacked the authority to allow the pipeline across the Appalachian National Scenic Trail, among other findings. An environmental attorney who worked on the case says […]

Former water board member: Lawsuit over pipeline violations is also an indictment of DEQ’s regulatory approach

BY: - December 13, 2018

After months of citizen complaints about deleterious impacts to waters of the commonwealth from Mountain Valley Pipeline construction, many cheered when Virginia Attorney General Mark Herring announced that an enforcement action had been filed last week. Upon closer inspection, however, the complaint filed by Herring is as much a critique of Department of Environmental Quality […]

Environmental groups find something to cheer about from the Northam adminstration

BY: - December 13, 2018

For much of his first year in office, Gov. Ralph Northam has gotten himself crosswise with the environmental groups that were big backers of his 2017 campaign. The relationship has steadily devolved — from the reappointment of Department of Environmental Quality Director David Paylor in the spring to the governor’s steadfast determination to do as […]

Virginia should quickly adopt tax conformity, resolve policy debates separately

BY: - December 12, 2018

Tax season is approaching and there is a pressing issue that will affect whether or not Virginia taxpayers can quickly and easily file their taxes in the commonwealth: tax conformity. Only the Virginia General Assembly and Gov. Ralph Northam can address this issue, which will have a profound effect on taxpayers’ ease of filing, how […]

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

For the first time, regulators reject Dominion Energy planning document, invite utility to refile

BY: - December 7, 2018

The State Corporation Commission, which regulates Virginia utilities, has shot down for the first time ever a long-range plan filed yearly by Dominion Energy and intended to outline how the company will meet its electric service obligations. “The commission finds, based on the record of this proceeding and applicable statutes, that the company has failed […]

It’s time for the General Assembly to side with customers, not utilities, on solar

BY: - December 7, 2018

Last year, the Virginia General Assembly passed legislation giving utilities the green light to develop 5,000 megawatts of wind and solar energy. This marks a milestone for Virginia, offering the possibility for an amount of solar equal in output to Dominion Energy’s newest gas-fired power plant in Greensville. Dominion projects the 1,588 megawatt Greensville plant […]

Gov. Ralph Northam

Northam’s struggle to explain air board move suggests it’s exactly what it appears to be

BY: - December 5, 2018

Can Gov. Ralph Northam’s decision to yank two members off the State Air Pollution Control Board as it weighs a permit for the compressor station Dominion Energy plans for Buckingham County be seen as anything other than what it appears to be: a clumsy attempt to tip the scale for the influential utility? In the […]

Let’s talk about guns

BY: - November 27, 2018

At last, the midterm elections are over. Let’s talk about guns. Last month, after a gunman killed 11 people at the Tree of Life Congregation synagogue in Pittsburgh, no less an authority on gun violence than the president of the United States lamented that the synagogue didn’t have a security guard. (Four Pittsburgh police officers […]

Amazon will need even more energy in Virginia. Will they make it clean?

BY: - November 26, 2018

Amazon Web Services jump-started the utility solar industry in Virginia in 2015, when it announced plans for its first solar farm in Accomack County. Three years later, Amazon remains (for now) the biggest purchaser of solar in the commonwealth, allowing it to offset some of the enormous amount of energy used by its data centers. […]

How hard a bargain did Virginia drive on Amazon? Secrecy pledge could make it tough to find out

BY: - November 21, 2018

Imagine if you were sitting down to dinner tonight and your spouse said she had something really important to talk with you about. You’re not totally surprised by this because she’s been gone a lot, taking whispered phone calls, sending late-night texts. But you still don’t really know what might come next. “SURPRISE!” she exclaims. […]