Operators of the S.S. Badger car ferry are seeking a reprieve from Environmental Protection Agency regulations. The coal-fired ship has been plying Lake Michigan since coming out of mothballs in 1990, but new federal regulations will prevent its operators from dumping tons of coal ash into the lake, starting next year. “Our coal ash discharge has been tested numerous time by EPA certified laboratories,” said Lake Michigan Carferry Service spokeswoman Lynda Matson. “Those tests have confirmed that the coal ash lacks the presence of anything at or near levels that would qualify as hazardous under any law.”
“Coal ash contains 25 contaminants that can be really, really bad for people’s health,” said Amber Meyer Smith is with Clean Wisconsin. “Things like mercury, arsenic, a number of other things that you really don’t want in a drinking water source that serves ten million people.” The Badger’s operators are seeking designation as a National Historic Landmark, and members of the Wisconsin and Michigan congressional delegations have crafted an amendment to exempt ships on the list from EPA regulation.
AUDIO: Bob Hague reports (1:05)