More than 7,000 people have submitted comments on the federal government's plan to allow the SS Badger to keep operating, but end its practice of dumping coal ash into Lake Michigan.
The ferry is based in Ludington, Michigan and operates between there and Manitowoc. Currently, the ship burns coal and dumps the ash into the lake. Its most recent permit expired last December. The federal government proposed what's called a "consent decree" with the following conditions:
- In 2013 and 2014, the ferry will reduce its discharge of coal ash
- No coal discharge starting in 2015
- Pay a $25,000 civil penalty for violating mercury water quality standards in 2012.
The plan triggered a month-long comment period, which ends at midnight tonight. To comment by email, click here. Comments should refer to United States v. Lake Michigan Trans-Lake Shortcut, Inc., D.J. Ref. No. 90-5-1-1-10771.
"The comments cover a wide range of viewpoints. The Environmental Protection Agency and the Department of Justice will consider all comments before moving to enter a consent decree in this matter," said Anne Rowan, chief of public affairs for the EPA's Chicago district office.
It was not immediately clear how long the review would take or when the Dept. of Justice might ask the Michigan federal judge to approve the plan.
As of Friday afternoon, the federal government was not releasing the comments for review by the public.
Lake Michigan Carferry Service, Inc., has endorsed the consent decree , saying it would preserve about 200 jobs on both sides of the lake.
For more information about the plan, the EPA has a website with details on the consent decree and other background.
The SS Badger is last coal-fired ship operating on the Great Lakes.
A juvenile male was arrested after Green Bay police say he crashed a stolen vehicle overnight.
An Oshkosh woman was injured after the vehicle she was driving hit a building in Outagamie County.
The city's school board has decided to move ahead with a multi-million dollar referendum.
Crashes up and down Highway 41 kept law enforcement busy on Monday.
The victim in a weekend shooting at an Appleton night club is being kept alive on life support so his family can donate his organs.
There was enough snow Monday to make driving a challenge, including one deadly crash in the Fox Cities.