The routine dumping of coal ash into Lake Michigan every day during the shipping season from the boilers of the Manitowoc, WI-to-Ludington, MI steam-powered ferry gets Sunday, page-one exposure in the Chicago Tribune.
Boaters who throw their garbage into the lake would and should get cited, but the Badger gets a pass for burning 55 tons a day and discharging overboard 3.8 tons of coal ash - - and, in fact, the pollution that comes out of the smokestack even has a separate legislative exemption from Wisconsin lawmakers.
How big a dose of pollution is this?
The Trib says..".the Badger dumps nearly 4 tons of coal ash into Lake Michigan — waste concentrated with arsenic, lead, mercury and other toxic metals. During its spring-to-fall season, federal records show, the amount far exceeds the coal, iron and limestone waste jettisoned by all 125 other big ships on the Great Lakes combined."
In the name of nostalgia for the last steamer working Lake Michigan?
The owners have been running a lobbying campaign to buy time, and maybe benefit from a less-interested administration after 2012, to put off converting to cleaner-burning fuel - - the company manages to call its coal "domestic fuel" - - as has every other similar ship on Lake Michigan.
The US Environmental Protection Agency had set a 2012 deadline for the Badger's compliance, but the ship's owners are looking for another five years.
The industry website Great Lakes-Seaway News had this say not long ago under the headline SS Badger Hopes to Wait Out EPA, Obama
Lake Michigan Carferry executive vice president Don Clingan was recently quoted in the Manitowoc Herald Times Reporter as saying that he hopes the S.S. Badger's two port cities, Manitowoc, WI and Ludington, MI can "hold hands across the pond" and lobby government officials for more time.The special treatment the ship receives at the expense of the public's clean air and water and now wants to further extend has been a sore spot and frequent topic on this blog for almost two-and-a-half-years - - here to here - - so let's hope more publicity will motivate public officials to make the ship's owners comply with the existing clean-fuel order and the public's legitimate expectation for a more-respected Lake Michigan environment.