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


Trees cut on a Susquehanna County property in March 2016 to make way for the proposed Constitution Pipeline. The company has said it will fight a FERC order upholding New York State's denial of a permit for the project.

‘energy, explained’ podcast: How one family lost the farm to a failed pipeline project

In the latest episode of “energy, explained,” the new podcast from StateImpact Pennsylvania, Megan Holleran tells her family’s story — complete with an unexpected twist — to StateImpact’s Susan Phillips.

By Susan Phillips and Scott Blanchard

Flames erupt during a natural gas pipeline explosion in Greensburg, Pa. in 2016. The explosion, which burned one person, caused flames to shoot above nearby treetops in the largely rural Salem Township, about 30 miles east of Pittsburgh, and prompted authorities to evacuate businesses nearby.

Mariner East 2: What are natural gas liquids, and what happens if they leak?

The pipeline will carry volatile propane, ethane and butane, which has raised fears of many who live near it — even though explosions are rare. As part of StateImpact Pennsylvania’s “Mariner East 2: At what risk?” series, we put together this video to explain what those substances are and how they act both inside the pipeline and if they got out, and how you should respond if there’s a leak.

By Susan Phillips and Tom Downing

President Donald Trump pumps his fist after putting on a hard hat given to him before speaking to the National Electrical Contractors Association Convention at the Pennsylvania Convention Center, Tuesday, Oct. 2, 2018, in Philadelphia. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)

Trump touts environmental deregulation in Philadelphia

The president told a group of electrical contractors that fewer rules are good for business
By Susan Phillips

A plane takes off from Philadelphia International Airport which is located near the Delaware River.

Rising sea levels could affect your flight. Airports at water’s edge are trying to make sure they don’t

Thirteen U.S. airports have runways that could be underwater by mid-century. Airports are working on ways to protect electrical equipment and infrastructure.

By Susan Phillips

A sign marking the right of way for the Mariner East pipeline in Lebanon County.
Updated: September 10, 2018 | 8:09 pm

Natural gas pipeline blast in Beaver County prompts evacuation

An Energy Transfer Partners pipeline exploded this morning, destroying one home, no injuries reported
By Susan Phillips and Reid Frazier

A specimen of Arethusa bulbosa, an orchid commonly known as dragon's mouth, was collected in flower on May 29, 1909.

Centuries-old plant collections could answer questions about impact of urbanization

“If we find a rare plant and it exists in Pennsylvania and it’s extinct in every other state, then that becomes a valuable piece of information,” a researcher said. Such discoveries could help protect vulnerable species.

By Susan Phillips

A photo of a Delmarva bay in spring shows the wetland flooded. In summer and fall this same wetland is dry. This isolated wetland falls under Obama's Waters of the U.S. Rule.

Federal judge reverses Trump decision on clean water protections

The decision, which could be appealed, restored the rule in 26 states.
By Susan Phillips

Construction on the Mariner East 2 pipeline has faced myriad problems, including damaged water supplies and sinkholes in a residential neighborhood in Chester County.

DEP fines Sunoco for damaging drinking water in Berks, Chester and Lebanon counties in 2017

Construction of the Mariner East 2 pipeline resulted in cloudy water for some; others lost use of their wells
By Susan Phillips

Sunoco's Mariner East 2 pipeline construction on Pennell Road in Middletown Township. (Emma Lee/WHYY)

PUC allows restart of Mariner East 2 construction in parts of Chester County

The agency agreed to have Sunoco continue construction at eight of 12 locations, where a judge halted work due to public safety and environmental concerns.

By Susan Phillips

Transfer pipes carry liquified natural gas to and from a holding tank, seen in background, at Dominion Energy's Cove Point LNG Terminal in Lusby, Md., Thursday, June 12, 2014. Federal regulators concluded that Dominion Energy's proposal to export liquefied natural gas from its Cove Point terminal on the Chesapeake Bay in Maryland would pose

Trump’s plan for LNG exports to Europe may not have much impact in Pennsylvania

Marcellus Shale production is expected to continue, an industry analyst said, and “we’re rapidly approaching a point where you may need to build capacity out of the Marcellus all the way to the Gulf Coast, and that’s an expensive proposition.”

By Susan Phillips
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