URGENT ACTION NEEDED
Protect Black Farmers and Indigenous Land in Pembroke Township
Oppose HB 3404 to Stop the Nicor Gas Pipeline!
Pembroke farmers and residents need our collective support for their fight against legislation which seeks to bring costly and dangerous fossil fuel energy via a Nicor natural gas pipeline into Pembroke. The bill, HB 3404, threatens Pembroke’s world-renowned 3-biome ecosystem–home to the Kankakee Sands and blacks oaks savanna.
As a result of Potawatomi and Black stewardship rooted in good relationship with the land and organic farming practices, the area has thrived as a sanctuary for many rare and endangered plant and animal species. Pembroke is also home to a deep history and tradition of Black freedom and self-determination. Founded by Joseph “Pap” Tetter, wife Mary Eliza, and their children in 1862 after escaping from North Carolina prior to the Emancipation Proclamation, Pembroke Township served as a sanctuary for other runaway and freed enslaved people. The area was an important terminal for the Underground Railroad and experienced continued waves of Black migration through the Great Depression and Great Migration. Pembroke’s Black farmers continue to steward the land and grow self-sufficiency and self-determination using the knowledge and practices passed down through generations.
“Pembroke people are resilient. They have deep roots in the local soil. Residents have much to teach the world about how to live as stewards of the land. Drawing on their rich culture and natural environment, community members work to create sustainable livelihoods for future generations.”
The community has been fighting off natural gas for over forty years to protect the environment and transition towards renewable energy and a sustainable future. HB 3404 would violate Pembroke’s residents self-determination and allow the proposed fracked natural gas pipeline to endanger Pembroke’s rare ecosystem and harm its historic Black farming community. Despite widespread opposition, minimal opportunities for community input, and failure to conduct and present impact studies, the legislation passed through the General Assembly with bipartisan support as a means of “economic development.” Pembroke residents have made it clear that fossil fuel energy such as this pipeline have no place in Pembroke’s future. On the contrary, the Pembroke Township and Hopkins Park Sustainability Plan calls for solutions such as renewable and efficient energy, sustainable food systems, and support for farmers.
“People here love the earth. This natural gas pipeline has nothing to do with the wellbeing of our community. We don’t have to have it for our livelihood or economic development.”
The bill (HB 3404) now sits on the Governor’s desk. The future of Black farming in Illinois depends on your solidarity and action. We only have until August 29, 2021 to get calls and letters in opposition to Governor Pritzker.
Below are 3 steps you can take.
TAKE ACTION NOW
- Call the Governor’s office at 217-782-6830 to demand that Pritzker veto HB 3404 and ensure impact studies, public process, community involvement, and NO eminent domain
- Sample script from IEC:
- “As a concerned resident of Illinois, I urge you to protect public safety, preserve pristine agricultural land, and prevent a utility rate increase by using your veto powers on HB3404. This legislation only offers a false solution to the very real problems faced by a community disinvested for decades. By giving a guaranteed contract to Nicor Gas to build unfettered into Pembroke township, the last remaining historically black farming community in Illinois, without scrutiny of relevant agencies, critical public safety protections, and only meager public input, Illinois residents will suffer. Instead of assessing alternatives, this bill would saddle Pembroke families and farmers with fracked gas infrastructure well past your proposed end date for gas in Illinois. As you know, it’s time to invest in clean energy, not double down on harmful fossil fuels. Amending this bill is an important step in protecting Illinoisans from poor public health outcomes, rising utility costs and the increasingly perilous impacts of the climate crisis.”
- Sample script from IEC:
- Send email letters through the following pages:
- Illinois Environmental Council: Stand with the People of Pembroke, Stop Fossil Fuel Expansion
- Illinois Stewardship Alliance: Tell Governor Pritzker to Veto HB3404, Preserve Pembroke, and Stop the Nicor Pipeline
- Uplift Pembroke’s efforts against the Nicor natural gas pipeline by sharing these calls to action among your networks and social media platforms!
To learn more:
- WBEZ, Historic Black Farming Community In Pembroke Views Planned Gas Pipeline As Existential Threat
- Chicago Sun-Times, In Kankakee County’s Pembroke Township, race, poverty, farming, Nicor gas pipeline converge
- Natural Resources Defense Council, Putting Pembroke’s Priorities Above a Gas Giveaway
Follow and support the organizations on the frontlines:
Black Oaks Center
Blacks In Green
Illinois Environmental Council
Illinois Stewardship Alliance
Pembroke Farming Family Association