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


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

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.

Dangerous South Philly refinery chemical still poses threat to community

Hydrofluoric acid is ‘special’ and ‘very dangerous’ — and there are 33,000 gallons of it at the Philadelphia Energy Solutions refinery that need to be neutralized. It will require a lot of careful work.

By Susan Phillips and Dana Bate/WHYY

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.

Philadelphia Energy Solutions' refinery.

After refinery fire, Philadelphia creates advisory group to discuss the site’s future

“You’re not going to hear me say we can dictate what happens on that site, but I think we can have some influence on what happens at that site,” Philadelphia Managing Director Brian Abernathy said.

By Susan Phillips

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