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


A large flare burns off fuel at Philadelphia Energy Solutions refinery while firefighters battle a fire there.

Refinery fire in South Philadelphia Friday January 21, 2019.

Risk plan for Philly refinery shows a hydrogen fluoride release could have been disastrous. Some say the toxic chemical is too dangerous to keep using

The explosion at Philadelphia Energy Solutions raises questions about a substance — which is also used at two nearby plants — that is so toxic, a vapor cloud of it could travel for miles and cause blindness, serious burns, permanent injuries or death.

By Susan Phillips

Refinery workers watch protestors outside the PES refinery Tuesday.

Philadelphia Energy Solutions workers leave the South Philly plant Wednesday. The plant, scheduled to close next month, employs about 1,000 people.
Updated: June 28, 2019 | 5:48 pm

Lawsuit claims Philadelphia Energy Solutions failed to give workers ample warning of layoffs

Federal law: Certain employers must give 60 days notice, or provide severance pay 
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.

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. on June 21.
Updated: June 26, 2019 | 5:36 pm

Philadelphia refinery damaged by fire will close, city says; union calls layoffs a ‘disgrace’

The explosion and fire took a day and a half to extinguish and destroyed the unit that turned crude oil into gasoline. Four employees were hurt.

By Susan Phillips

A large flare burns off fuel at Philadelphia Energy Solutions refinery while firefighters battle a fire there. The wind carried the black smoke toward residential areas of South Philadelphia. (Emma lee/WHYY)

Philadelphia officials to convene working group on the PES refinery fire, while residents rally to shut the plant down

City says the refinery explosion, fire did not impact public health
By Susan Phillips and Dana Bate, WHYY

Refinery fire in South Philadelphia Friday January 21, 2019.

Investigations of Philadelphia refinery fire to include potential release of dangerous chemical

Hydrogen fluoride is used in the process of turning crude oil into gasoline at PES, but a release of the chemical could have had deadly consequences.

By Susan Phillips and Dana Bate, WHYY

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)

Feds to investigate Philly refinery explosion as local health experts remain cautious

Philadelphia Energy Solutions is the largest refinery on the East Coast and the single largest source of air pollution in Philadelphia
By Susan Phillips, Steph Yin, WHYY and Jake Blumgart, WHYY

The Bruce Mansfield Power Plant burns coal to generate electricity in Beaver County.
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