Read The Full Op-Ed that Brings Together 31 Alderpeople

31 Alderpeople Agree: Banning Natural Gas is Not the Way Forward for Chicago

Did you see us in the Sunday edition of the Chicago Sun-Times, as well as on the Newspage of the Chicago Sun-Times? We are running another one-day End the Ban on Natural Gas Campaign with a double full-page ad in the Chicago Sun-Times and a digital Homepage Takeover on its website that shares an Op-Ed Authored by 31 Chicago Alderpeople.

This piece shares the view that 2/3 of Chicago’s City Council believes we need to end the ban on natural gas and move forward with a real plan to decarbonize the city that does not eliminate an affordable and reliable energy source that heats 80% of homes.

Read the Op-Ed that Brings Together a Majority of Chicago’s City Council

Decarbonization Plan Risks Reliability, Compromises Jobs, and Hurts Consumers

The people of Chicago deserve a decarbonization plan that prioritizes affordability, job security, and equity—not one that haphazardly imposes an unfunded government mandate that risks power grid reliability, compromises good-paying jobs, and increases utility bills.

Chicago is already grappling with rising electricity costs. Overburdened households are struggling to make ends meet. According to recent data, electricity rates for households in northern Illinois surged by 14% last summer.

A ban on natural gas connections would not only disrupt the current energy landscape, but it would also jeopardize jobs. The natural gas industry employs thousands of union workers in middle-class careers. The Clean and Affordable Buildings Ordinance (CABO) would put the livelihoods of these residents at risk.

Against these rising costs, proponents proposed CABO, a forced transition to all-electric systems in newly constructed buildings throughout the city—banning natural gas connections. While the proposal is commendable in its environmental aspirations, CABO raises significant concerns about reliability, putting residents out of work, and deepening inequities across Chicago.

The reliability of Chicago’s power grid is a pressing issue, and moving from natural gas to all-electric is costly. With less than 4% of the city’s electricity currently sourced from renewables, such a sudden shift could strain the grid beyond capacity. Households using natural gas for heating save an average of $1,132 per year compared to their all-electric counterparts. The city’s own projections indicate astronomical infrastructure costs to transition—up to $60 billion to convert Chicago’s homes and businesses. These costs would be passed on to Chicagoans, further burdening them with higher utility bills.

Moreover, through this mandate, ComEd would become a super-monopoly, delivering both electricity and heat in the city. ComEd is not prepared to heat homes in Chicago with its current electric grid and, by its own admission, recognized that there is a disconnect between its service and disadvantaged communities in the city. Put simply, with higher costs and subpar service, this ordinance will hurt low-income families most.

Monopolies stifle innovation, exploit consumers, and undermine labor rights–all the things that run counter to the decarbonization plan we believe Chicago deserves. It is imperative to acknowledge the need for diversifying sustainable energy sources beyond just electrification is crucial for establishing a sustainable energy infrastructure.

Residents should have a voice in how they want to heat their homes. Right now, 8-in-10 Illinois households use natural gas for heating. A December poll found that 72% of Chicago voters want a gradual clean energy transition rather than a rapid ban on gas. Homeowners who want to convert their homes to all-electric can already join incentive programs through ComEd and the federal Inflation Reduction Act to make retrofitting more affordable.

Additionally, in a recent development, the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit overturned the City of Berkeley’s ban on natural gas infrastructure in newly constructed buildings. A parallel lawsuit in New York, and the California case, set a precedent with nationwide implications, raising questions about the viability of this proposed unfunded government mandate.

As elected officials, we have a responsibility to advocate for policies that prioritize the well-being of our constituents while advancing sustainability goals. CABO falls short of meeting these criteria. We urge city leadership to heed the concerns raised by elected officials, utility companies, labor unions, and community members and work towards a more sustainable energy future that truly serves the interests of Chicagoans.

Rather than rushing to adopt CABO by imposing an unfunded government mandate, while limiting constituents energy options, we propose exploring alternative approaches with all stakeholders. The recommendations include building weatherization, expanding electric vehicle charging infrastructure, electrifying the city fleet, and bolstering funding for mass transit. These measures offer more inclusive and practical pathways toward sustainability, reduce emissions, and create opportunities for job growth and economic development.

We need to prioritize a practical approach that ensures energy reliability, affordability, and job security as we work to meet the state’s Climate and Equitable Jobs Act (CEJA) goals of becoming 100% carbon-free by 2045. We stand ready to collaborate with stakeholders to develop bold solutions that meaningfully address climate change while safeguarding the interests of Chicago residents.

Together, we can build a greener, more resilient city for generations to come.

List of Alderpeople Authoring this Op-Ed

Brian Hopkins – 2nd Ward

Pat Dowell – 3rd Ward

Greg Mitchell – 7th Ward

Michelle Harris – 8th Ward

Anthony Beale– 9th Ward

Peter Chico – 10th Ward

Nicole Lee – 11th Ward

Marty Quinn – 13th Ward

Ray Lopez – 15th Ward

Stephanie Coleman – 16th Ward

David Moore – 17th Ward

Derrick Curtis – 18th Ward

Matt O’Shea – 19th Ward

Ronnie Mosley – 21st Ward

Silvana Tabares – 23rd Ward

Monique Scott – 24th Ward

Walter Burnett – 27th Ward

Jason Ervin – 28th Ward

Chris Taliaferro – 29th Ward

Ruth Cruz – 30th Ward

Felix Cardona – 31st Ward

Scott Waguespack – 32nd Ward

Bill Conway – 34th Ward

Gil Villegas – 36th Ward

Emma Mitts – 37th Ward

Nick Sposato – 38th Ward

Sam Nugent – 39th Ward

Anthony Napolitano – 41st Ward

Brendan Reilly – 42nd Ward

James Gardiner – 45th Ward

Debra Silverstein – 50th Ward

Press Release: One-Day “End the Ban on Natural Gas” Campaign in the Sunday Chicago Sun-Times

The International Union of Operating Engineers Local 150, AFL-CIO, announced it is launching our second one-day “End the Ban on Natural Gas” Campaign through the Fight Back Fund, an effort comprised of tens of thousands of workers who are standing up for working families on Sunday, May 5, 2024. The campaign will share an exclusive Op-Ed authored by 31 Chicago Alderpeople in the Chicago Sun-Times.

Click here to read the full press release.

Make Your Voice Heard

Join 31 of Chicago’s Alderpeople, and make your voice heard. Help us Fight Back and End the Ban on Natural Gas.

Call the Mayor’s Office and tell Mayor Johnson to put an end to the ban on natural gas. You deserve clean energy choices.

By Phone:

Dial 311 (within Chicago)

Call the Chicago Mayor’s Office now at 312-744-5000.

Other Ways to Get Involved

The Clean Energy Choice Coalition is building a community focused on keeping your energy affordable.

The IUOE Local 150 and the IIIFFC are members of the Clean Energy Choice Coalition. The Coalition is on a mission to guarantee that energy consumers in Chicago and Illinois have access to a wide range of established and cutting-edge technologies and energy alternatives. The focus is on reducing greenhouse gas emissions and achieving our decarbonization demands so we lead the way in safeguarding numerous pathways and energy options.

Click here to learn more about the CECC now.

Fight Back


Make Your Voice Heard: 312-744-3300