A tug boat assists the S.S. Badger with docking after the car ferry became stranded in the Manitowoc Harbor. (Courtesy: Sue Pischke/HTR)
TRAVERSE CITY, Mich. (AP) -- A federal ruling is expected shortly that could determine the fate of the nation's last remaining coal-fired steamship.
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has ordered the S.S. Badger to stop dumping coal ash into Lake Michigan. The 410-foot ferryboat discharges more than 500 tons of ash slurry each season on its runs between Ludington, Mich., and Manitowoc, Wis.
Company officials say they're researching new fueling technology but need more time.
EPA says it will make a tentative decision in March on whether to give the Badger a new permit. Either way, the company says it intends to sail this spring.
A rival diesel-powered ferry called Lake Express says the Badger should have to follow the same pollution rules as other Great Lakes vessels.