HOPKINS PARK — Legislation that would bring natural gas service to Hopkins Park residents in Pembroke Township continues to await Gov. JB Pritzker’s signature after being sent to his office last month.
The bill’s author, State Rep. Jackie Haas, R-Kankakee, said the legislation went to the governor on June 30. He has 60 days to sign it into law.
If he does not sign the bill by the 60-day deadline, it will automatically become law, Haas said.
State Sen. Patrick Joyce, D-Essex, sponsored the bill in the Senate.
The legislation would give Nicor Gas the ability to serve the community of Hopkins Park by installing up to 500 feet of natural gas main per customer in designated hardship areas, which are defined by the U.S. Census Tracts and Department of Housing and Urban Development, at no charge to the served customers.
Through the Pembroke Township Natural Gas Investment Fund, the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity would distribute grants to residents to help cover the cost of converting stoves, heaters and other appliances to be compatible with natural gas.
Nicor Gas’ current tariff only allows the company to install 200 feet per customer at no charge.
The remaining distance would typically be paid for by the residents or community.
Opponents argue the pipeline will destroy natural habitat, especially rare black oak savannas, a combination of prairie plants and thin oak woods. It is one of the rarest natural habitat types left in Illinois.
They argue solar and wind power would better serve residents of the township as natural gas is a fossil fuel.
They also argue many residents do not want natural gas service.
Residents would be able to opt in or out of service, officials said.