EPA OKs coal-fired ferry for another season on Lake Michigan

Staff Writer
Columbus CEO

LUDINGTON, Mich. (AP) — Federal regulators say operators of the 63-year-old coal-fired passenger ferry SS Badger have made the necessary environmental improvements to keep the vintage vessel in service carrying people and cars across Lake Michigan.

The 410-foot ferry launched in 1952 can carry 600 passengers and 180 vehicles. It's the last coal-fired steamship operating on the Great Lakes and is scheduled to start service Friday between Ludington, Michigan, and Manitowoc, Wisconsin.

On Thursday, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency said inspectors confirmed that Lake Michigan Carferry Service Inc. "has taken all the steps necessary to permanently stop the discharge of coal ash" into the lake.

An EPA order said the Badger couldn't dump ash into the lake after 2014. Operators have spent about $2.4 million on an onboard ash storage system.