Ash-dumping Lake Michigan ferry may stay afloat

SS Badger last coal-burning steamship on the Great Lakes

Published On: Nov 30 2012 09:28:32 AM CST

A Lake Michigan ferry that travels between Wisconsin and Michigan would be allowed to stay afloat even though it dumps 500 tons of coal ash into the lake each season.

The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reported Friday that a provision has been added to the U.S. Coast Guard reauthorization bill allowing the nearly 60-year-old SS Badger to remain operating as long as it floats.

The ferry transports cars and passengers between Ludington, Mich., with Manitowoc, Wis., and is the last coal-burning steamship on the Great Lakes.

But without a renewal of its federal permit or an investment to end the ash dumping, the ferry will have to shut down Dec. 19. The U.S. House bill would allow it to continue operating.