The S.S. Badger will sail another year, while trying to find a solution for it's ash dumping.
The Lake Michigan car ferry has signed an agreement with the Department of Justice and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency that will require that Badger to stop dumping coal ash into Lake Michigan within the next two years.
Every season, the ferry boat dumps more than 500 tons of ash on it's run between Ludington and Wisconsin.
"The Badger has a huge economic impact on the Ludington Area, but the historic ship is also a big part of the heart and soul of our community," said Ludington Mayor Josh Henderson. "We are very pleased that the EPA and Lake Michigan car ferry were able to work out an agreement that will allow the Badger to continue to be an icon for our community long into the future."
According to ferry officials, the Badger contributes $35 million each year to the economies of the port cities.
Congressman Bill Huizenga released the following statement after the announcement that the Badger would sail this year:
"The Badger is not merely a piece of living history, it is a very active and very vital part of Michigan's economy and remains a major source of job creation and economic growth for both Ludington and Manitowac on the other side of Lake Michigan. It contributes $35 million to the local economies annually, increases tourism, and provides a major boost for small businesses along the lakeshore. Too often local businesses are forced to close their doors due to Washington's heavy-handed regulatory bureaucracy. I applaud Lake Michigan Car ferry for successfully navigating the bureaucratic fog and overcoming the unprecedented regulatory hurdles placed before them."
Dr. Dan Benishek released the following statement as well:
"Today's news that the Badger will continue to be able to sail in Lake Michigan is a win for Northern Michigan. We've seen the regulators in Washington do their best to make this day never come. Frankly, the bureaucrats and their regulations are killing jobs all over Northern Michigan. We can't let these guys hurting our economy. Thankfully, due to a lot of hard work from the Badger team, the ship will continue to cross Lake Michigan this summer and beyond."
This year celebrates the Badger's 60th anniversary. In celebration, the company is offering special pre-season anniversary pricing. The start of the sailing season has been moved up to May 6 this year.