PEMBROKE – To help give the residents of Pembroke Township the ability to heat their homes more affordably, State Senator Patrick Joyce (D-Essex) championed a new law that will bring natural gas service to the area.
The law was supported and advanced by a group of stakeholders including the Village of Hopkins Park, Pembroke Township, Congresswoman Robin Kelly, Senator Joyce, Representative Jackie Haas, Rainbow PUSH and Kankakee County.
“Pembroke residents have lived in a community that lacks the basic access to a natural gas service for far too long,” Joyce said. “I’m thrilled to see this transformative legislation signed into law so residents can have a reliable and affordable source of heat in their homes.”
The measure passed with bipartisan support.
“With the governor’s signature today, bringing safe, effective utilities to the people of Pembroke is now one step closer to becoming reality,” said State Representative Jackie Haas (R-Kankakee), the House sponsor of the measure. “This was a great bipartisan effort that had a lot of moving pieces but couldn’t have had a better result. I look forward to continuing to advocate for Pembroke until the job is done.”
“Bringing Natural Gas to the Village of Hopkins Park and Pembroke Township is a historic moment in our communities’ history. We were left behind for decades, this important infrastructure component levels the playing field so we can compete for industry and jobs,” said Mayor Mark Hodge and Pembroke Township Supervisor Samuel Payton. “We thank the Governor for acknowledging the wishes of the 96% of community residents who want natural gas and look forward to seeing lower utility bills soon.”
Eight out of 10 Illinois homes chose to cook and stay warm with safe, reliable and affordable natural gas – the homes and families in Hopkins Park do not have the same choice and are forced to rely propane, wood-burning stoves and electrical space heaters for their energy needs. This law creates the Pembroke Township Natural Gas Investment Pilot Program, which would allow Nicor Gas to extend its natural gas infrastructure to serve Pembroke Township.
“Bringing more robust infrastructure to Pembroke Township is an issue of equity for an area that has not seen enough investment,” said Congresswoman Robin Kelly. “I will continue to work to see services brought to this area that improve quality of life and attract jobs for residents.”
“For residents of Hopkins Park in Pembroke Township, having reliable ways to heat their homes and safe ways to feed their families is a necessity. Affordable energy choice is now a reality thanks to the longtime, organic initiative driven by the community, and supported by numerous advocates, state and local leaders and national organizations,” said John O. Hudson III, president and CEO of Nicor Gas. “We thank Governor Pritzker and others for supporting this deserving community and paving the way for economic growth, social equity and an improved quality of life in Pembroke. Nicor Gas has safely delivered clean, safe, reliable and affordable natural gas to customers across Northern Illinois for decades. Just as we do with all those we are honored to serve – we stand committed and ready to work with Hopkins Park to extend not just energy service but hope too.”
Natural gas can help catalyze economic growth, attract new businesses and infrastructure development. For residents who choose natural gas service, Joyce secured $1 million in state funding last year to enable Pembroke Township residents to take advantage of these new service lines. Through the Pembroke Township Natural Gas Investment Fund, the Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity will distribute grants to eligible residents to help cover the cost of converting appliances to be compatible with natural gas.
The legislation was signed into law Friday and takes effect immediately.