Lake Michigan Carferry is attempting to secure a permit from the EPA to allow the historic SS Badger ferry to continue operations beyond its sailing season. Acquisition of the permit would enable the ferry to continue to dump coal ash discharge into Lake Michigan.
Officials of Lake Michigan Carferry have proposed that receiving the permit would provide time for the exploration of alternatives to effluent dumping. Carferry has suggested a number of solutions, including coal ash retention, switching to diesel, or transitioning from coal-derived energy to liquefied natural gas (LNG).
High-ranking Illinois Senator Dick Durbin has vowed to actively oppose the SS Badger’s efforts, maintaining that Carferry will not develop a credible plan to eliminate the coal ash discharge. “The four years since receiving your current EPA permit have been more than enough time for you to develop a credible plan for eliminating coal ash discharge,” states Durbin in a letter to Lake Michigan Carferry. “All you could produce for me was far-fetched LNG theory which has no chance to actually become a reality.”
Various environmental groups also oppose the SS Badger’s operations, arguing that the dumping could jeopardize the safety of the environment and the health of the public, while Lake Michigan Carferry maintains that lab tests reveal that the coal ash does not contain harmful elements.
Some citizens of Ludington and Manitowoc, Wis., strongly support the SS Badger on the basis that the vessel provides jobs and is key in sustaining the economies of those communities. As Michigan works to maintain stable economies, residents weigh the benefits of maintaining those job positions against potential environmental risks to the lake.
Click here for more information on the SS Badger’s quest to continue operations.