Statement: Chicago Building Decarbonization Report points to healthier, more affordable future without gas

Media Contacts
Abe Scarr

State Director, Illinois PIRG; Energy and Utilities Program Director, PIRG

Recommendations should serve as a wakeup call for policymakers to reform failing Peoples Gas pipe replacement program

CHICAGO– The City of Chicago released its Chicago Building Decarbonization Working Group (CBDWG)
Recommendations Report on Thursday, including recommendations to “drastically reduce fossil fuel use” and “advance decarbonization for all buildings.”

The CBDWG was a 53-person task force of technical experts and community leaders that developed 26 recommendations for consideration by the City of Chicago over a series of meetings in 2021.

Illinois PIRG Director Abe Scarr, a member of the working group, made this statement in response to the release of the report:

“The current way we heat our homes and businesses is bad for the climate, our health, and is increasingly unaffordable for broad swaths of Chicago. Through energy efficiency, building electrification and thoughtful forward planning, we have an opportunity to improve the well-being and economic security of all Chicagoans. 

“While there will be challenges along the way, those are best met by convening diverse stakeholder perspectives as Mayor Lightfoot did with the Building Decarbonization Working Group.

“This report is a wakeup call for city and state policymakers that we need to take immediate action to reform the failing Peoples Gas pipe replacement program. The estimated $11 billion program is expected to continue through 2040, five years after the city’s Climate Action Plan calls for 30% of residential homes to electrify and get off the gas system. 

“As a first step, the state legislature should heed the call of Governor Pritzker, Mayor Lightfoot and over 40 consumer, environmental and community groups by ending the ‘QIP’ law that has facilitated billions of dollars of wasteful gas utility spending while shielding Peoples Gas and other utilities from meaningful public oversight.”