As he talks equity, Gov. Northam continues to ignore Union Hill

BY: - March 28, 2019

In the weeks since Gov. Ralph Northam was condemned for the racist activities he engaged in in the past, I’ve not been happy, nor comfortable. I’ve struggled to find the way to say what I need to say without alienating the people I want to work with. I’ve walked a rhetorical high wire, trying to […]

Can we make our politics less vicious and dumb? Or has the horse left the barn?

BY: - March 22, 2019

What’s even a low blow or cheap shot anymore in this begrimed age of Trump? Have we all sunken permanently into the mud of a new, no-holds-barred normal, where apologizing is anathema, facts are irrelevant and trying to score points is all that matters? Politics has always been vicious, angry and often dumb, but spend […]

The State Corporation Commission

A revised generation plan leaves Dominion’s case for its pipeline in shambles

BY: - March 20, 2019

In December of last year, regulators at the State Corporation Commission took the unprecedented step of rejecting Dominion Energy Virginia’s Integrated Resource Plan. Among other reasons, the SCC said the utility had inflated projections of how much electricity its customers would use in the future. On March 8, Dominion came back with a revised plan. […]

On opioids, it’s past time for medical professionals to make the real correction

BY: - March 18, 2019

The dental community has been focused on training and educational opportunities for dentists to change the way they prescribe opioids for dental procedures. For the past three years, I have been an advocate of the change, a role I did not choose: I was chosen for it. Four years ago, my youngest son Adam died […]

Virginia could use a lot more sunshine

BY: - March 15, 2019

My first job at a daily newspaper, which I started 12 years ago this month in the swamps of south Louisiana, may have spoiled me as far as what to expect from public records laws. Louisiana, where I worked for five years and a place I dearly love, might not often be mistaken for a […]

A storm passes over the Capitol. (Ned Oliver/Virginia Mercury - Sept. 11, 2018)

How the General Assembly failed Virginia again on clean energy

BY: - March 11, 2019

When the General Assembly session opened Jan. 9, legislators were presented with dozens of bills designed to save money for consumers, lower energy consumption, provide more solar options and set us on a pathway to an all-renewables future. Almost none of these measures passed, while bills that benefited utilities kept up their track record of […]

Citizen oversight of Virginia’s environmental regulations increasingly looks like a farce

BY: - March 5, 2019

Even after more than two years of being steadily bludgeoned into subservience by the Department of Environmental Quality and the Attorney General’s office over the regulation of a pair of contentious natural gas pipeline projects, Friday’s meeting of the Virginia State Water Control Board was a new low point. The meeting, mostly conducted behind closed […]

A failure to act by the water board on Mountain Valley Pipeline will allow more violations

BY: - February 28, 2019

On Friday, the Virginia State Water Control Board will meet to discuss whether it should revoke a key permit previously issued to Mountain Valley Pipeline. The permit in question, the 401 Water Quality Certification, authorizes pipeline construction in upland areas; essentially everywhere except wetlands and stream crossings. Crucially, this permit does not authorize MVP to […]

Virginia energy policy must become more transparent and inclusive

BY: - February 27, 2019

Virginia’s solar industry has seen rapid growth in customer demand over the past two years, and a bill that recently passed through the state legislature appears to be a huge victory for solar customers and the electric cooperative industry. However, the full projected outcomes of this bill for residential solar will become clearer in 10 […]

Tracking bills during the General Assembly session: like drinking from a fire hose

BY: - February 25, 2019

I once got a call from a journalist frustrated by a state law that allowed the government to withhold important information. He wasn’t just frustrated with the law, he was frustrated with me because — admittedly — I didn’t catch the bill that led to the law when it made its way through the General […]

The Northam regime’s abuse of power must stop

BY: - February 21, 2019

In siding with corporate interests against the better judgment of affected communities and citizens and ignoring key environmental issues, Gov. Ralph Northam’s administration has revealed a fact pattern in its efforts to suppress justice in the commonwealth. Actions taken by the Northam administration involving the Virginia State Air Pollution Control Board vis-à-vis the Atlantic Coast […]

Growth in data centers overpowers Virginia’s renewable energy gains

BY: - February 15, 2019

Almost 70 percent of the world’s internet traffic passes through data centers in Loudoun County on a daily basis. More than 100 massive data centers, over 10 million square feet of building space, dot the Northern Virginia landscape around Dulles Airport in what is known as “Data Center Alley.” And the industry is growing fast. […]