As the United States appears to be on the precipice of a staggering recession thanks to the outbreak of the novel coronavirus, a group of Illinois-based activists is looking out for the country’s disenfranchised. A movement spearheaded by Reverend Jesse Jackson aims to bring a new natural gas pipeline to the people of Pembroke Township.
Languishing in Poverty
In the United States, the poverty threshold for a family of four is just north of $24,000. For the people of Pembroke Township, a county on the edge of the Illinois-Indiana border, the median income is $16,000 a year. The county has a skyrocketing unemployment rate, as well, with around a third of the citizens facing unemployment.
For nearly 50 years, the people of Pembroke Township have been advocating for a natural gas pipeline in Pembroke Township. At the moment, the residents rely on wood-burning fireplaces and stoves to keep warm in the winter. That could all soon change, however, if a pending deal with Naperville, Illinois’ Nicor Gas comes to fruition.
The Benefits of Natural Gas
It may seem shocking to find a pronounced liberal like the Reverend Jesse Jackson advocating for natural gas. That shock quickly fades, however, when you discover the benefits of natural gas for a community like Pembroke Township. As Jackson explained, “My job is to lift up those whose backs are against the wall.”
That’s precisely what could happen when, and if natural gas finds its way to Pembroke Township. First, the planning and installation of a natural gas line would deliver construction jobs and an influx of much-needed capital into the community. Then, a natural gas line could be added to the county’s infrastructure, making schools more comfortable and more attractive to good teachers. Long-term jobs would need to be added to maintain the line, as well.
When the weather turns cold, the broader community could benefit from the advent of cheap natural gas. Study after study has shown that when natural gas is cheap and readily available, impoverished citizens are more inclined to use it. That translates to saved lives. Period.
One Corner of America
Pembroke Township is just one of the communities throughout the United States that is in drastic need of a cheap, plentiful supply of natural gas. This one improvement can prove transformative for communities, improving the daily lives of residents on nearly every level.
In a country facing an uncertain economic future, natural gas is one way to add jobs to the community and improve the lives of US citizens.