Susan Phillips

Susan Phillips tells stories about the consequences of political decisions on people's every day lives. She has worked as a reporter for WHYY since 2004. Susan's coverage of the 2008 Presidential election resulted in a story on the front page of the New York Times. In 2010 she traveled to Haiti to cover the earthquake. That same year she produced an award-winning series on Pennsylvania's natural gas rush called "The Shale Game." She received a 2013 Alfred I. duPont-Columbia University Journalism Award for her work covering natural gas drilling in Pennsylvania. She has also won several Edward R. Murrow awards for her work with StateImpact. In 2013/14 she spent a year at MIT as a Knight Science Journalism Fellow. She has also been a Metcalf Fellow, an MBL Logan Science Journalism Fellow and reported from Marrakech on the 2016 climate talks as an International Reporting Project Fellow. A graduate of Columbia School of Journalism, she earned her Bachelor's degree in International Relations from George Washington University.

Latest by Susan Phillips


Refinery fire in South Philadelphia Friday January 21, 2019.
Updated: October 16, 2019 | 5:53 pm

Chemical Safety Board says PES refinery explosion ‘did not have to happen’

The report by the Chemical Safety Board shows for the first time that some amount of the dangerous hydrofluoric acid was released to the atmosphere
By Susan Phillips

Birds in the Delaware River watershed, like this great horned owl, are losing ground because of climate change impacts on habitat and food supply. (Emma Lee/WHYY)

Changing climate means Pennsylvania and New Jersey state birds could disappear from the region

A new report by the National Audubon Society says Pennsylvania's state bird the ruffed grouse and New Jersey's American goldfinch could disappear from the state.
By Susan Phillips

A man waves for a tow truck after getting swamped trying to cross a flooded section of the Cobbs Creek Parkway, Wednesday, April 30, 2014, in Philadelphia. Cobbs Creek and Darby Creek merge in the Eastwick section of Philadelphia where flooding is expected to get worse due to rising sea levels.

Gov. Wolf plans to have Pennsylvania join a regional effort to cut carbon emissions

Wolf bypassed legislature with executive order that starts process to join Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative
By Susan Phillips

Philadelphia firefighters gather at the entrance to Philadelphia Energy Solutions Refinery, while a large flare burns off fuel to prevent it from feeding the massive fire at the refinery.

Olivia Shumaker, 16, of Lancaster Mennonite High School organized a student walkout Friday, May 3, 2019 to demonstrate for more action to address climate change.

What longtime climate activist Rafe Pomerance wants you to know

“This is the largest transformation governments have to do, which is to re-work the global energy system to decarbonize it,” he said.

By Susan Phillips

The proposed PennEast pipeline would pass through the fields of the Christman farm, seen from the intersection of Station Street and Pohopoco Drive in Lehighton.

Federal appeals court strikes blow to PennEast pipeline project

The Third Circuit decision blocks PennEast from condemning state-owned land in New Jersey
By Susan Phillips

A fire burns at the Philadelphia Energy Solutions refinery hours after a series of early morning explosions at the 150-year-old industrial complex at 3100 W. Passyunk Ave. (Emma Lee/WHYY)

Most of a dangerous toxic chemical at the PES refinery is now neutralized — but risk remains

Exposure to hydrofluoric acid can cause serious injury or death, and the chemical has posed a threat since an explosion and fire ripped through the refinery in June.

By Susan Phillips

Crews work at the site of a sinkhole along the Mariner East pipeline route near the Pennsylvania State Police barracks on Route 1 in Delaware County on Thursday, April 25, 2019. Pipeline builder said there were no leaks and no pipelines were exposed.
Updated: September 3, 2019 | 4:24 pm

Criminal defense counsel represents DEP in Mariner East probe

The firm is among several chosen in 2018 by the state’s Office of General Counsel to provide legal services related to criminal procedures, if needed, to about 30 state agencies. Several environmental lawyers say they’ve never heard of the Department of Environmental Protection using a criminal defense attorney, and wonder why the agency felt the need to do so.

By Susan Phillips

In the distance, construction of the Mariner East 2 pipeline at Raystown Lake Recreation Area in Huntingdon County, Pennsylvania.

‘Great progress’ in South Philly refinery cleanup, fire commissioner says

About half of the original 30,000 gallons of highly toxic hydrofluoric acid remains. “A good week,” Philadelphia Fire Commissioner Adam Thiel says.
By Susan Phillips
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