If you live in Chicago or the north suburbs, you can be proud of your gas company. They have chosen to reject Springfield’s attempts to force them to buy dirtier, more expensive gas from two risky coal-to-gas projects proposed for Chicago and southern Illinois.
Late Friday, People’s and North Shore announced they were choosing to stick with conventional gas despite the political pressure. According to Crain’s Chicago Business:
Peoples Gas is refusing to buy synthetic gas from a pair of politically favored plants on the drawing board for Chicago and Downstate Illinois, jeopardizing the multibillion-dollar projects.
Crain’s has learned the Chicago gas utility and its corporate sibling, North Shore Gas, told state officials Friday they won’t sign long-term purchase contracts with the coal-to-gas plants. State legislation enacted this summer cleared the way for the plants and sought to pressure large natural gas utilities into buying the facilities’ output.
Making synthetic natural gas from coal is a dirtier and more expensive way to get natural gas. The developers of both coal plants pledge to capture and somehow bury their millions of tons of carbon pollution deep underground, but Springfield’s power play doesn’t guarantee those plans in their pollution permits. The Chicago plant, proposed for the southeast side, has not disclosed how, where, or when they will bury their millions of tons of pollution.
We applaud People’s Gas and North Shore Gas for looking out for their customers, and deciding not to buy the dirtier, coal-derived gas from the risky Leucadia or Power Holdings coal plants. Customers in Chicago and the north suburbs can rest assured that they will not be heating their homes or cooking their meals with coal-derived gas that costs more and pollutes more than conventional natural gas.
We call on Nicor and Ameren to make the same decision, in the interests of their customers and the environment, and continue to deliver cleaner, cheaper conventional natural gas to the homes they serve.