Gun politics are all about gun sales

BY: - January 21, 2019

Let’s picture your child on the first day of classes next September. Now, let’s picture your child’s teacher. We’ll call her Ms. Becker, because it sounds like a good name for a teacher and because that was my high school homeroom teacher’s name. Now, picture Ms. Becker packing heat, say a 9 mm Glock. She’ll […]

National wildlife refuge system, inspired and created by Theodore Roosevelt, imperiled by government shutdown

BY: - January 21, 2019

There is no greater land conservation system in the world than the U.S. National Wildlife Refuge System. And that system, always under-resourced, is now further imperiled by the ongoing government shutdown. Managed by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and spanning 850 million acres of land and water, the refuge system is the world’s largest […]

Former state board member was accused of ‘working for the opposition’ after raising concerns about pipeline construction damage

BY: - January 18, 2019

Visiting the Mountain Valley Pipeline construction corridor in southwest Virginia was a promise I made to  local residents while I was a member of the State Water Control Board. It was a promise that wasn’t kept until Jan. 2, when I toured many farms and residential lands impacted by the MVP construction activities. Unfortunately, it […]

Your guide to clean energy and climate bills this session (blink and you might miss them)

BY: - January 17, 2019

Clean energy and climate action are mainstream concepts with the public these days, but at Virginia’s General Assembly they have yet to gain much traction. Last year saw one renewable energy bill after another die in committee, along with legislation mandating lower energy use through energy efficiency and climate measures like having Virginia join the […]

After nearly year-long logjam, GOP ‘rams through’ State Corporation Commission pick with no Democratic support

BY: - January 16, 2019

More than a year after Judge James Dimitri said he was stepping down from the State Corporation Commission, which regulates utilities, insurance, banking and other business interests, Republicans in the General Assembly muscled through a surprise pick to fill the last remaining year of his term in a single day with zero Democratic support. The […]

Dominion's power station in Chesterfield in Sept 2017.

How the conversation on coal ash has changed

BY: - January 15, 2019

In an ideal world, we might expect agencies charged with protecting people and the environment to always do the right thing within the limits of the law regardless of who sits in the governor’s mansion. But because we live in the real world, of course, political leadership matters a great deal. Consider the history of […]

The Medicaid work requirement: A ‘blunt instrument of a bad idea’

BY: - January 14, 2019

Adrian worked a full-time job and he received health insurance through Medicaid. As it turns out, that’s a pretty common story. For every 15 Americans on Medicaid, nine of them already have a job, according to the latest data from the Kaiser Family Foundation. Two people have an illness or disability that keeps them from […]

Appalachian Power gets approval to sell 100 percent renewable energy to customers. Hold the champagne.

BY: - January 10, 2019

This week the State Corporation Commission  approved a request from Appalachian Power Company  to offer its more than 500,000 Virginia customers the option of buying electricity entirely from renewable sources. The sources will be primarily wind and hydro, with some solar to be added as it gets built. Participants who opt in will pay a premium […]

Dominion's power station in Chesterfield in Sept 2017.

LOOKING AHEAD: Coal ash cleanup, another fish fight and a potential mystery package on renewable energy

BY: - January 8, 2019

Last in a series looking ahead to the General Assembly session that starts Wednesday. Expect much of the environmental debate this session, for the third year in a row, to center on Dominion Energy’s plans to close coal ash impoundments containing millions of tons of the potentially toxic by-product of decades of power generation. This […]

Amazon gives Virginia the opportunity to build a 21st century transportation network

BY: - January 8, 2019

With the recent announcement that Amazon is bringing 25,000-plus high-paying jobs to Crystal City in Northern Virginia, I believe now is the perfect opportunity to move the commonwealth’s transportation system into the 21st century. Now is a great time to move away from the “more roads” transportation plan to an “all-of-the-above” plan. The reasons: A) driving […]

How will air board weigh site ‘suitability’ on major compressor station vote?

BY: - January 7, 2019

Is an African-American community in rural Virginia the right place to put a massive compressor station for a natural gas pipeline? This is the question the Virginia Air Pollution Control Board will consider at its meeting Tuesday. The compressor for the Atlantic Coast Pipeline is one of only three along the 600-mile planned pipeline route […]

The Virginia State Capitol.. (Ned Oliver/Virginia Mercury)

A LOOK BACK: The Mercury’s Top 10

BY: - December 31, 2018

Last in a holiday-week series looking back on how we’ve spent our time since the Mercury’s launch in July. Cannabis, Confederates, Virginia’s venerable and vexing liquor laws and longstanding problems in social services departments were among the most-read stories Mercury reporters wrote this year, our first in existence. Since our launch in July, we’re averaging […]