top of page



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.


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.




Read the full letter here.

bottom of page