Thursday, November 15, 2012

EPA To Make The Rare Wisconsin-Michigan Badger Extinct?

The coal-fired steamship S.S. Badger to be precise.

The Detroit News: Full Stop: S.S. Badger could end historic journey in December

The ship, launched in 1952, is a registered historic site in both states and regularly ferries passengers and vehicles back and forth contributing millions to both states' economies.

This could all end on Dec. 19 if the Badger's parent company, Lake Michigan Carferry Service, doesn't come up with a way to stop dumping the boat's coal ash discharge into the waters of Lake Michigan.

The Environmental Protection Agency is currently reviewing an application by LMC that, if approved, would give the Badger a permit to continue operating past the Dec. 19 deadline, if the company sets a schedule for compliance with EPA water cleanliness restrictions.

Considering the Badger is the last coal-fired vessel in service on the lakes, the worry that one ship will harm the environmental balance of Lake Michigan is a bit overwrought, not to mention it save millions of gallons in fuel that vehicles would otherwise consume, and even carries windmill parts fer crying out loud:

The Badger not only transports people back and forth between Wisconsin and Michigan on a four-hour, 60-mile cruise, but it also transports automobiles, tour buses and commercial trucks across Lake Michigan, Brown said. It is 1 1/2 times the size of a football field. Nickels said the Badger often carries the massive pieces of wind towers — huge windmills produced by Broadwind Energies, which is based in Manitowoc. If not for the ship, he said, those pieces would have to be driven on flatbed truck trailers on highways around the southern tip of Lake Michigan. Brown said LMC estimates that the Badger saves 1 million gallons of fuel each year from vehicles that can avoid driving around Lake Michigan.

One would think the EPA would grant an exemption considering the environmental benefits of the S.S. Badger far outweigh its costs.

Then again, expecting such rational decision making from a greenie dominated, anti-coal driven administration is likely asking for too much.

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