Fri May 10, 2013
Lake Michigan Ferry Returns Following Fine For Coal Ash Dumping
The Lake Michigan carferry that sails out of Manitowoc returned to service this week.
It returns as thousands of comments about the carferry's coal ash dumping await final action in Washington D.C.
A small crowd was on hand when the S.S. Badger sailed into the Manitowoc harbor one day around noon, and the boat's horn sounded.
Manitowoc resident Don Manlich used to help unload rail cars from the ferry and still likes to ride the Badger. He says the boat trip to Ludington, Mich. and back can be beautiful: “One summer we had gone over and in the middle of lake it was just smooth, just clear. No ripples.”
Manlich says he never thought the ash that the coal-fired Badger dumps into the lake was much of an environmental problem. But he says he's okay with the Environmental Protection Agency and U.S. Justice Department recently fining the carferry while proposing to give it until the end of 2014 to stop the dumping. Also supportive is occasional boat-rider Jim Godson of Ripon: “It seems to be a good compromise — probably about the best the government can do these days.”
But environmentalists like Andy Buchsbaum of the National Wildlife Federation are pushing for a stronger legal agreement. Buchsbaum says he's not sure the Badger will stop dumping coal ash within 18 months: “We just want to make sure that schedule is followed. We want to make sure there are no more extensions after this two-year period.”
Buchsbaum also wants greater reductions in the ash dumping this year and next. The Justice Department reportedly has collected about seven thousand comments about the federal plan for the Badger, but the agency didn't respond to a request for an internet link to the comments.