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Contact: Karen Feridun, Better Path Coalition, 610-678-7726,


Pennsylvania’s Children Are Not Expendable 

Statement by the Better Path Coalition


Pennsylvania: Results of taxpayer-funded studies released by the Department of Health and its research partners at the University of Pittsburgh have established a link between fracking and lymphoma, a cancer considered rare in children, asthma, and birth outcomes. Enough is enough. Pennsylvania’s children cannot be treated as sacrificial lambs to any industry, much less the one that is threatening the future of every child who manages to escape its grip today.


Thousands of peer-reviewed studies, media investigations, and government reports have pointed to profound health impacts of drilling and fracking occurring in Pennsylvania since Governor Rendell opened the state to fracking. At times, it seemed as if the only one not to study Pennsylvania was Pennsylvania. 


That changed last night.


Governor Shapiro, his cabinet, and our legislators can no longer pretend the science does not exist that makes the case for a ban on fracking. Their own science makes the case, and not just regarding lymphoma, but asthma exacerbations and detrimental birth outcomes as well.


We can no longer tolerate false assurances that somehow our children can be protected from this deadly industry. It is time to ban fracking and end the fossil fuel era in Pennsylvania.




Contact: Karen Feridun, Better Path Coalition, 610-678-7726,


Governor Shapiro’s Attempt to Post about Climate Is a Swing and a Miss (Earth)


Pennsylvania: For 292 days, Governor Josh Shapiro did not have much to say about climate change on social media. That changed today when he released a 5:19 minute video featuring Lindsey Coffey, a model originally from Washington County who won the title Miss Earth in 2020. In the video, he sits down with Coffey to talk climate.


The video comes on the heels of the launch of a campaign by the Better Path Coalition, a frontline- and grassroots-led statewide coalition that started when members of the coalition realized that the governor had not tweeted the word “climate” since before becoming governor. On July 22, Shapiro tweeted the phrase “climate change” two hours after the Better Path Coalition’s tweet noting that the absence of tweets is conspicuous for a governor who uses social media to talk about his priorities.


After that single reference to climate change, Governor Shapiro was called out once again by the coalition for the fact that he had tweeted more about the Barbie movie than he had about the greatest crisis facing humanity. 


On August 3, 11 Barbies visited Harrisburg to deliver a copy of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s (IPCC) latest report to the governor. The group was met by an officer guarding the closed door of the governor’s reception hall. Ms. Coffey received a much more cordial greeting.


In the new video, Shapiro cautions Coffey and others “not to underestimate the power that [they] have… to use their voices to move the process forward.” He continues, “I don’t believe that governments, nationally, internationally, will be able to make the kind of change necessary and, relatively speaking, in the short period of time we need to really address climate change, without folks on the outside influencing the process and pushing people along, making sure this is an issue we vote on, making sure this is an issue to rally behind.”


The Better Path Coalition has made numerous attempts to “push along” the governor and his staff, including a letter outlining priorities for his first term and a follow-up letter marking his 100th day in office, reiterating those priorities since he had not addressed any of them or acknowledged receipt of the letter. Recent reporting by Kiley Bense for Inside Climate News indicates that the second letter was circulated to members of the governor’s secret climate working group.

“With all due respect to Ms. Coffey, her advice to people is to take personal responsibility for the climate crisis by making small changes. We have learned a lot in the past couple of years about the role public relations firms played in shifting the blame and, thus, the responsibility to the public and away from the industry that caused the crisis. The fact is that the industry that caused the crisis is still doing harm with the support of Governor Shapiro,” said Karen Feridun, Co-founder of the Better Path Coalition. “We are reaching out to Ms.Coffey to see if she can get us a meeting with the governor and to invite her to testify at the People’s Hearing on Climate Change during the Pennsylvania Climate Convergence in October.”



Contact: Karen Feridun, Better Path Coalition, 610-678-7726,


Governor Shapiro Hides from Coalition of Barbies Bearing Climate Message


Pennsylvania: Self-proclaimed “Barbie Guy” Governor Josh Shapiro hid from a coalition of Barbies who visited his office to deliver the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change report. Eleven Barbies arrived shortly after noon to find an officer guarding the closed door of the Governor’s reception hall.


The Better Path Coalition organized the action to tell Shapiro that Pennsylvania needs a climate guy, not a Barbie guy. The group used social media to let Shapiro know that the Barbies would be visiting to deliver the “super important IPCC report” via a series of posts and graphics.


Last month, the Better Path Coalition posted that the governor had not tweeted the word “climate” since October 26, 2022, weeks before the general election. A search of his tweets looking for the phrase “global warming” produced only one result that he posted in 2018.


Within hours of Better Path’s tweet, Shapiro tweeted about abandoned wells, using the phrase “climate change.” In the hours and days that followed, Shapiro tweeted two videos about the Barbie movie, identifying himself as a Barbie guy. An earlier Barbie tweet from April of Shapiro in a poster for the movie was posted on the state’s official account operated by the Department of Community and Economic Development. The DCED has been actively involved in bringing polluting projects like the Shell cracker plant and hydrogen hubs to Pennsylvania.

A receptionist from the Governor’s office eventually came out of the office to accept the IPCC report from the group.

“This isn’t about tweets. Governor Shapiro uses social media to talk about his priorities and what he perceives to be his accomplishments. The absence of tweets from the governor of the second biggest methane gas producing state in the nation speaks volumes,” said Karen Feridun, Co-founder, Better Path Coalition.

Shapiro has tweeted about communities hit by extreme weather events, but they say little more than he will have their backs. He views having their backs as helping them recover from the disaster, not taking aggressive action to address the crisis that is bringing about the extreme weather events.

"In May of this year, PA IPL delivered a letter to the Governor's Office and Department of Environmental Protection along with 100 Prayers for the Earth collected from across the state of Pennsylvania. Taking strong and immediate action that aligns with climate science and values justice is crucial. We are looking for this Administration to show bold climate leadership," said Katie Ruth, Executive Director, Pennsylvania Interfaith Power & Light.

“When your house is on fire, it’s disconcerting when, as your home is being consumed by the flames, the fire chief wants to talk about this great movie he saw and how good he is at repairing fire damage,” said Michael Bagdes-Canning, founding member, Pennsylvania Action on Climate. 

“Hello, Governor Shapiro, the planet is smoking, flooding, overheating, ocean currents are collapsing, we’re in the midst of a mass extinction event, and …, and telling us you are a Barbie Guy and how quickly you sprang into action AFTER the recent climate fueled floods isn’t good enough. We need real action,” continued Bagdes-Canning. “Ecological devastation is a policy choice.”

“Pennsylvania is part of the climate problem because fracking releases uncontrollable amounts of methane that powerfully heat up the atmosphere. The second highest producer of natural gas in the nation, the Commonwealth will continue to make the climate crisis worse until fracking is stopped and replaced by clean, renewable energy sources. Governor Shapiro must take seriously the urgent need to end its polluting greenhouse gas emissions rather than spend time courting popularity through Barbie tweets,” said Tracy Carluccio, Deputy Director, Delaware Riverkeeper Network.

“The climate clock we installed in the East Wing will tick down to zero in less than six years. Zero on the clock doesn’t mean it’s time to take action. It means it’s too late. The time for action is right now. What Shapiro does in this moment will follow him throughout his career and will be his legacy,” said Feridun. 

Additional photos of the action are available here.



Contact: Karen Feridun, Better Path Coalition, 610-678-7726,


Barbie sez, “Thanks, Governor Shapiro, but we need a climate guy.”

Coalition of Barbies heading to Capitol to deliver IPCC report to Governor


Pennsylvania: In two recent video posts on Twitter, Governor Josh Shapiro has proclaimed that he is a Barbie guy. On August 3 at noon, Barbies from across the state will converge at the Capitol to deliver a copy of the most recent report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change with the message, “Thanks, Governor Shapiro, but we need a climate guy.” The Barbies will go to the Governor’s office after a brief fashion photo shoot at the fountain.


The delivery is part of a campaign by the Better Path Coalition that started on Twitter when co-founder Karen Feridun discovered that the governor had not tweeted about climate change since before his election. Conversely, he tweets frequently about issues he prioritizes like broadband that he has now tweeted about 21 times this month alone.


Within hours of the coalition’s post noting the search results, Governor Shapiro used the phrase “combat climate change” in a tweet about plugging abandoned wells. When he posted his first Barbie movie video shortly thereafter, the coalition launched the hashtag #ClimateVBarbiemovie to track mentions of either topic. At present, the score stands, Barbie movie: 2, climate: 1.


“During a summer of deadly floods, nearly off the charts levels of particulate matter in the air from wildfires in Canada, and drought conditions across much of Pennsylvania, Governor Shapiro has had ample opportunities to link those events to climate in his many posts about having the backs of impacted communities. But if he really wants to have the backs of people in Pennsylvania, he needs to take aggressive action on climate. Unfortunately, his lack of social media posts is a reflection of his lack of action on the most important issue of our time,” said Feridun.




August 2, 2023

For Planning Purposes

Karen Feridun, 610-678-7726,


Thursday: Coalition of Barbies to Deliver Super Important IPCC Report to #1 “Barbie Guy” Governor Shapiro


A coalition of Barbies from across the state will gather in Harrisburg at noon on Thursday to deliver the IPCC report to Governor Josh Shapiro and tell him we need a Climate Guy, not a Barbie Guy.


Governor Shapiro has posted videos twice on Twitter/X that he is a Barbie Guy. Just prior to the first post, the Governor posted a reference to climate change for the first time since October 26, 2022, before the general election. The post came just hours after the Better Path Coalition noted that he uses Twitter/X to talk about his priorities and that climate change has been  conspicuously absent from that list since he took office.


Who: A coalition of Barbies

What: Delivery of super important IPCC report to Governor Shapiro

When: Thursday, August 3, at noon

Where: The Barbies will gather for a fashion photo shoot at the fountain on Commonwealth Ave. at noon before going to Governor Shapiro’s office. After the delivery, the Barbies will stop at the climate countdown clock in the East Wing for another photo shoot. 

Visuals: 11 Barbies from across PA, a banner telling Shapiro we need a Climate Guy, not a Barbie Guy, a banner listing priorities sent to Shapiro in a letter from the Better Path Coalition during his transition that was shared with Shapiro’s secret climate working group, the IPCC report in a pink folder.




Contact: Karen Feridun, Better Path Coalition, 610-678-7726,


Better Path Coalition Calls on Shapiro to Connect Climate Dots in Review of First 100 Days 

Frontline- and Grassroots-led Coalition Still Awaiting Response to Pre-Inauguration Recommendations Prepares to Submit Right-to-Know Request on Private Climate Meeting


Pennsylvania: The Better Path Coalition has not seen significant action on the recommendations the group submitted to Governor Shapiro days before he took office. The group’s review comes as the Shapiro administration marks its first 100 days in office. In a new letter submitted today, the Coalition notes that it will submit a Right-to-Know request regarding a recent meeting of a climate working group held behind closed doors.


The letter quotes passages from Shapiro’s budget address, including a statement wherein the governor says we have to connect the dots between methane leakage and climate change, referring to the specific issue of abandoned wells. The Coalition urges Shapiro to lead by example. “You are not being honest and connecting the dots with your ongoing support of fossil fuel extraction and the development of blue hydrogen and carbon capture and storage projects that represent nothing more than the next generation of drilling and fracking. Pennsylvania will not be part of the solution to climate change without leaders courageous enough to draw to a close the era of fossil fuel and petrochemical production.”


The letter acknowledges that Department of Environmental Protection Acting Secretary Rick Negrin has hired Fernando Treviño to serve as Special Deputy Secretary for Environmental Justice, but followed up the appointment with a series of poorly advertised town halls held during daytime working hours. 


The Coalition also points out that one of the few details released about Shapiro’s climate working group is that the environmental advocacy giant, NRDC, is co-leading the group. The group juxtaposes NRDC’s $150 million operating budget and Manhattan headquarters with the Coalition’s largely unfunded frontline and grassroots member organizations made up of volunteers who pay out of their own pockets to do their work and says the administration’s statements on environmental justice ring hollow when its member groups are ignored by the administration.


“Our recommendations were detailed and thoughtfully drafted. Many of them provide a perspective that can only come from people living and working on the frontlines of methane and ethane extraction. We expect better of our governor. We want him to walk the talk on environmental justice,” said Karen Feridun, Co-founder of the Coalition.


Tamela Trussell, Founder of Move Past Plastic (MPP), contributed the recommendations on plastics and reiterated the dangers they pose, "Microplastics, PFAS, and numerous other toxic chemicals have profound deleterious health impacts on the frontline communities near fracking wells, cracker plants, pipelines, incineration plants, landfills, and transportation routes like Palestine, PA.  Our most vulnerable population: fetuses, babies, pregnant mothers, children, and wildlife, are also negatively impacted by these hazards. These impacts could last a lifetime. A newborn's lungs, heart, liver, kidneys, and brain contain microplastics and PFAS. Their growth, brain development and immune systems are impaired from birth. We must establish comprehensive research, regulations, and enforcement on the petrochemical industry and hold them accountable for the billions of dollars of health harm from them." 


The letter states, “Climate change is unquestionably the greatest crisis we have faced in the course of human history, one that could bring that history to an end. It is also a crisis with a known, available solution. The only thing stopping us from availing ourselves of the solution is lack of political courage.” In closing, the Coalition says that Pennsylvania will not be part of the solution to the climate crisis without leaders courageous enough to draw the era of fossil fuel production to a close.


The full letter is available here.




Contact: Karen Feridun, Better Path Coalition, 610-678-7726,


Shapiro’s Budget Address Misses the Mark on Climate Change 

Statement by the Better Path Coalition


Pennsylvania: Governor Shapiro said he “wants the future of hydrogen to come through our Commonwealth” and added that Pennsylvania must “[secure] at least one regional hydrogen hub.” In a budget address that was absent of any strong initiatives to address the accelerating climate crisis, his statements supporting hydrogen were the most revealing of his lack of seriousness on the matter.


In referring to the hydrogen hubs he wants the state to secure, Shapiro neglected to explain that Pennsylvania is involved in proposals for at least three hydrogen hubs, all of them based on blue hydrogen. Blue hydrogen is nothing more than the next generation of fossil fuel production in a state that is already playing an outsized role in exacerbating the climate crisis.


Hydrogen can be produced from multiple sources, so it is color-coded to differentiate among the feedstocks and processes used to produce it. Gray hydrogen is made from methane using a process called steam methane reforming and accounts for 95% of the hydrogen produced today. 


Blue hydrogen is gray hydrogen with carbon capture and storage added, a process powered by methane. It all adds up to more drilling and fracking and more climate-killing methane leaks. 


Shapiro is not oblivious to the problem of methane leaks, he noted later in his address when he talked about using a lighter to ignite the methane leaking from an abandoned well he visited. To address the problem, he called on DEP Acting Secretary Negrin to “draw down as much federal funding as possible to cap and plug orphaned and abandoned wells that dot rural Pennsylvania.”


The federal funds would plug 50 wells in the Commonwealth. The estimated number of abandoned wells is as high as 700,000. Lack of oversight over the use of the federal funds has raised concerns about how even the tiny fraction of wells being plugged with them are being selected. 


The Better Path Coalition sent a letter to then-Governor-elect Shapiro outlining priorities we had identified for his administration. The letter urged Shapiro to take immediate steps toward a ban on fracking by reinstating the ban on drilling and fracking in Dimock that was quietly lifted by the DEP the same day he announced Coterra’s no contest plea in the grand jury case. Other recommendations included addressing well abandonment, banning all road spreading of drilling waste, protecting Pennsylvanians from toxic, radioactive oil & gas waste, addressing potentially catastrophic methane leaks from underground storage facilities, and reforming state agencies.


We never received a response from Shapiro and certainly could not glean one from his address today unless we were to infer that recommendations emanating from frontline and grassroot organizations are officially being ignored.


If that is the case, Pennsylvania will not be part of a climate solution. We will see more and more climate change-fueled disasters. We can only hope Shapiro’s leaden response to the derailment in East Palestine that continues to profoundly impact his constituents in Beaver County is no indication of how he will handle those disasters.


FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE – February 28, 2023

Contact: Karen Feridun, Better Path Coalition, 610-678-7726,


“Pennsylvania Is Worth Protecting” Is Message of Book by Coalition & Partners

Groups Deliver Books to Governor Shapiro and Legislators, Calling for Action on Climate Change


Pennsylvania: More than 60 photographs fill the pages of a book delivered to Governor Shapiro and state legislators today by members of the Better Path Coalition and the Pennsylvania Climate Convergence Network. The photographs in Worth Protecting were submitted by people from across the state depicting things that they hold dear and that must be protected from climate change and environmental devastation.

Karen Elias, Better Path and Climate Reality member and the book’s editor, said, “Putting this book of photos together -- of all those things that we consider most worth protecting across the commonwealth -- has been a great joy.  The photos offer glimpses, open and heartfelt, of our various lives as we live them, day to day, with our pets, our kids and grandkids, and our gardens -- as well as of those moments of unexpected pleasure that we've captured by surprise.  A toad that appears in the fire-pit, a sunset, a double rainbow, a stunning vista, a monarch chrysalis fastened to the edge of a canoe.  Taken together,they comprise a tribute to the lives we're creating across the Pennsylvania landscape, lives made more precious and precarious by the looming presence of climate change.  Our hope, in offering this book to our governor and legislators, is that they will sit up and take notice: We are your constituents.  These are our lives made visible.  This is the Pennsylvania we would like to pass on to our kids and grandkids. You have the power to make that happen.  All this is worth protecting -- and we are running out of time.”


The groups also announced the release of an online version of the book in the form of a story map created by Elias and Erica Jackson of the FracTracker Alliance. The online edition includes photos that did not appear in the book due to space limitations.


"The Worth Protecting project reminds us of our innate desire to protect what we depend on: community and natural resources. We're sharing these photos with the new administration in Harrisburg, as well as the public, to encourage all Pennsylvanians to find their personal connection to the impacts of the climate crisis and join the movement to take action on it." - Erica Jackson, Manager of Community Outreach and Support, FracTracker Alliance.


During the delivery, members of the delivery team participated in the first People’s Filibuster. Throughout the afternoon, they read statements from some of the people who submitted photos, testimonials by people harmed by shale gas development, essays, and poetry. The idea of the filibuster is to read those things aloud that our elected officials should be reading themselves. Future filibusters will include readings from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s Sixth Assessment, studies, and reports.


“We hope that our governor and legislators will reflect on the message of the book, hear the statements and testimonies of their constituents, and recognize that they have the power and the responsibility to protect Pennsylvania. And we hope they heed our Climate Countdown Clock’s urgent warning that the time to act is now,” said Karen Feridun, Co-founder of the Better Path Coalition.


Funding for the publication of the book was provided in part by a grant from the Delaware Riverkeeper Network.


FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE – February 23, 2023

Contact: Karen Feridun, Better Path Coalition, 610-678-7726,


Shapiro’s Team PA-Funded Super Bowl Trip Should Raise Concerns about Hydrogen Hubs

Statement by the Better Path Coalition


Pennsylvania: The “nonprofit” that submitted the application for the blue hydrogen hub proposed for western Pennsylvania paid for Governor Shapiro’s trip to the Super Bowl, according to Spotlight PA

Team Pennsylvania President and CEO, Abby Smith, says that paying for the trip doesn’t violate Shapiro’s own interpretation of a gift ban because her organization doesn’t recommend policy. We beg to differ.


The organization has been a constant supporter of methane gas and petrochemical development. Perhaps most notably, it partnered with IHS Markit on the 2017 report, Prospects to Enhance Pennsylvania’s Opportunities in Petrochemical Manufacturing. It was the report that claimed that Pennsylvania could support five ethane cracker plants.


Just last year, then-Governor Tom Wolf announced that he and 24 partners, including Team Pennsylvania, signed a declaration committing to deploy hydrogen and carbon capture and storage technologies in Pennsylvania. Shortly thereafter, Team Pennsylvania convened the Pennsylvania Energy Horizons Cross-Sector Collaborative to promote blue hydrogen. The organization’s website describes the Collaborative’s roles, including this one. “A Catalyst & Enabler: The Collaborative drives action around decarbonization, creating the conditions for infrastructure investments to be made in Pennsylvania through compelling messaging as well as policy and regulatory frameworks.” (emphasis added)


Team Pennsylvania figured prominently in the brief we published last fall, The Dirty Truth Behind the Global Clean Energy Action Forum, on what was more a false climate solutions trade show than anything resembling a clean energy action forum. The report provides a timeline that connects the natural gas boom and the key players behind it to the current drive to develop blue hydrogen hubs in Pennsylvania.

The Global Clean Energy Action Forum was hosted by the Department of Energy. The agency considered Carnegie Mellon University to be its main co-host. CMU President Farnam Jahanian serves on Team Pennsylvania’s board of directors. His chief of staff was recently named by Shapiro to head the Department of Community and Economic Development (DCED). “Team PA works very closely with DCED on a regular basis,” says its website. In fact, when Team Pennsylvania submitted the application for the western Pennsylvania hydrogen hub, the Department of Community and Economic Development provided the press release.


Abby Smith’s hair-splitting defense is disingenuous. One of the reasons people have lost faith in their government is because of responses like hers or that of Manuel Bonder, Shapiro’s spokesperson, who told Spotlight PA that “the tickets did not violate the gift ban because the organization has a ‘decades-long history of collaborating with the state,’ and is ‘completely incomparable to a private actor,’” all the while avoiding the financial relationship between the organization and the state.


Optics aren’t the issue for the majority of Pennsylvanians who have been polling that they are concerned about climate change and want action from their government. And optics are certainly not the concern for people living near fracking operations and infrastructure, the Shell cracker plant, or the Pennsylvania/Ohio border a few miles away.


The news broke as Dr. Robert Howarth was briefing legislators and their staff on the problems with blue hydrogen in a session our coalition organized. We invited Governor Shapiro many times. We wrote to Sam Robinson, his Deputy Chief of Staff. Our coalition of groups on the frontlines of environmental injustice and of grassroots organizations working on the ground can’t get a response from our governor and have too much integrity to buy his support. 


Shapiro needs to get serious about Pennsylvania’s energy future. His support of outmoded ideas like the all-of-the-above energy strategy he ran on and of bad new ideas like methane hubs masquerading as hydrogen hubs is not what we need when we have less than six and a half years to avoid the worst impacts of global warming and when countless families are suffering right now. He might have to miss a game or two.


Read the full letter here.

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE – January 10, 2023

Contact: Karen Feridun, Better Path Coalition, 610-678-7726,


Better Path Coalition Outlines Environmental/Climate Priorities for Shapiro Administration 

Frontline- and Grassroots-led Coalition’s Focus on Methane and Ethane Production Is Reflected in 38 Topline and Targeted Priorities


Pennsylvania: The Better Path Coalition submitted a list of environmental and climate priorities to Governor-Elect Shapiro and members of his environmental transition team. The letter, submitted today, includes 30 targeted priorities organized under eight8 topline priorities.


Although the climate crisis and increasing concerns over the environmental and health impacts of drilling and fracking prompted the group to develop athe list of priorities, Shapiro’s public statements in support of the industry and the false climate solutions it is promoting gave urgency to the task.


The letter urges Shapiro to take immediate steps toward a ban on fracking by reinstating the ban on drilling and fracking in Dimock that was quietly lifted by the DEP the same day he announced Coterra’s no-contestno contest plea in the grand jury case. Other recommendations include addressing well abandonment, banning all road spreading of drilling waste, protecting Pennsylvanians from toxic, radioactive oil & gas waste, addressing potentially catastrophic methane leaks from underground storage facilities, and reforming state agencies.


The Coalition also urges Shapiro to reject hydrogen hubs and carbon capture schemes being proposed in Pennsylvania. The unproven, often cost-prohibitive solutions are nothing more than attempts by the fossil fuel industry to continue doing business as usual behind a thin, greenwashed veil. Taken together, the solutions represent the next generation of fossil fuel development in Pennsylvania and guarantee continued drilling and fracking.


The letter closes by calling on Shapiro to lead where his predecessors have failed. They hitched Pennsylvania’s wagon to two dying stars - plastics and fossil fuels. If history is a guide, Shapiro will likely win a second term if he seeks one. If Pennsylvania remains on its current course, he will be the governor when the climate clock ticks down to zero in about six and a half years.



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