July 30, 2014

S.S. Badger gets an extension

The S.S. Badger Car Ferry could get two more years to adopt a cleaner way to get rid of its coal-ash emissions. The federal Environmental Protection Agency on Friday announced a tentative two-year extension for the 60-year-old boat to end the dumping of coal ash into Lake Michigan.

A previous four-year grace period expired last December, which threatened to close down the ferry for good. The EPA will hold a 30-day comment period before the extension is final.

The Badger carries vehicles and passengers across Lake Michigan between Manitowoc and Ludington Michigan. It’s the nation’s last operating coal-fired steamship. Operators had been studying ways to either burn natural gas, but now say they will abandon those plans in favor of developing a safe way to store the coal ash on board and then dispose of it on land.