OUR VIEWS: Coal ash dumping must stop

Oct 11, 2012

 

The Badger makes trips from Ludington to Manitowoc, Wis., during the warmer months. It dumps 3.8 tons of coal ash into Lake Michigan every time it makes that trip.

Four years ago, Lake Michigan Carferry — which operates the Badger — obtained a permit that allowed the company four years of continued coal ash dumping. The permit was issued with the understanding that, during that time, the ferry company was to find another fuel source that was not as harmful to the environment.

That permit will soon expire, and the company has still not found a solution.

Lake Michigan Carferry claims it does not have the funding and resources to make the necessary conversion in time for the Dec. 19 deadline, so they are asking for an extension on the permit that will allow them to conduct business (and continue to pollute) as usual.

Make no mistake, the Badger has significant historical value, but the idea of allowing its coal ash dumping to continue at the expense of our environment is not tolerable.

It’s also not fair to the Badger’s competitor to the south, the Lake Express, which travels from Muskegon to Milwaukee. The Lake Express car ferry has received numerous "green" awards, while investing money to adhere to current emissions guidelines.

Hopefully, the strides Lake Michigan Carferry has made to obtain funding for the conversion from coal to a more environmentally friendly power source will come together in time — but it's not looking promising.

To its credit, the company claims it has curbed coal use by 20 percent during the past several years. It has also found ways to reduce discharge, including using a more efficient but much more expensive type of coal.

Those are tremendous steps in the right direction, but they’re not enough. Lake Michigan Carferry officials should be held to the timeline passed along by the EPA four years ago.

What a shame it would be if the Badger were unable to continue operating with a lesser footprint on the environment due to a lack of preparation. The company's actions — or apparent lack thereof — affect their employees, tourism and a mode of travel counted on in our nearby communities.

But when’s enough enough?

Our Views reflects the majority opinion of the members of the Grand Haven Tribune editorial board: Kevin Hook, Cheryl Welch, Matt DeYoung, Liz Stuck and Fred VandenBrand. What do you think? E-mail us a letter to the editor to news@grandhaventribune.com or log-in to our website and leave a comment below.

Comments

Landsold

Test results with the EPA say the ash is not hazardous to the lake. I wonder what test results would say about this.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=q...
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=T...
I wonder how much of those Lake Express lobbying dollars go to the Organik Consulting to spin this issue with seminar activists?

100pctHuman

Please post a link to any document that says "not hazardous to the lake."

Landsold

Test results
http://www.epa.gov/r5water/npdes...
Now post your test results that say something differant.

100pctHuman

"On February 24, 2012, EPA provided you with a detailed description of additional information
required to complete the NPDES permit application under 40 C.F.R. §122.21. In that letter, EPA
found that five (5) independent samples of coal ash slurry discharged by the Badger were
necessary to characterize the effluent entering Lake Michigan. EPA also designated the specific
pollutants and sampling and analytical methods to be utilized in developing this data.

The permit application included only one sample of coal ash slurry from one sampling event
conducted in 2011. For the following reasons, EPA has determined that the one sample provided
by the LMC with its application was not analyzed consistent with EPA's specified procedure and
is not acceptable for consideration as one of the five required samples to be used to determine the
nature of the Badger's discharge.

http://www.epa.gov/r5water/npdes...

Landsold

You missed the point where is your test results? Obviously Organik Consulting doesn't have any to back up their claim. All they have to offer is more spin from seminar activists.

100pctHuman

Oct 16, 2012

01:15 PM

Landsold says:

Test results with the EPA say the ash is not hazardous to the lake.

Landsold

Verbal Jujutsu'd? Run out of Organik talking points?

100pctHuman

" There is no use arguing with a fool. He only rages and scoffs, and tempers flare" Psalm 29:9.

Good night.

Landsold

Oh poor100pct. Don't put yourself down like that. Organik has no backup and knows too much that isn't so.

100pctHuman

Air test results for the SS Badger are starting to come in and they are ugly. The far left is trucks carried by the SS Badger if they drove around instead. Next one over shows the ash and soot coming out of the SS Badger smokestacks from trucks taking the trip across on the SS Badger instead. Its no wonder that the owners of the ship had to ask Michigan to exempt them from the Clean Air Act.

http://www.glmri.org/downloads/2...

Landsold

Nice dodge. Still didn't answer the question. Where are your test results saying its harming the water? Besides particulate matter is not defined as to what it is. Besides why does marine diesel have a higher particulate matter than truck diesel? So by that account the Lake Express should be shut down because it can't carry large trucks. Like to see those test results and the seminar answer to that one. One lasting the current owners didn't own the ship when the exemption was granted, another piece of Organik Consulting spin.

100pctHuman

Seminar? Here's the SS Badger's talking point document: http://www.ssbadger.com/content....

And its rally call:

Landsold

Here's yours and according to this accuracy doesn't matter. http://organikconsulting.com/blo...

Tri-cities realist

I think the semi truck argument misses the point. The Badger is primarily a passenger / car ferry. So the nominal increase of pollution attributed to hauling semis should be compared, or at a minimum, include the pollution that would be created by transporting the passengers over land in the analysis. You can't ignore the passengers if you want an apples to apples comparison. And i realize they assumed the Badger was filled to capacity with 45 semis (equiv to 180 cars), which would tend lower the per semi pollution by spreading it over more semis. The way I look at it is this, the primary cargo is people and cars, with a few semis included. My hunch is that the nominal increase in pollution attributed ONLY to the additional weight of the semis (not what it takes to power the ship and its passengers and cars) is less than the pollution created by those semis traveling by land. It's almost like the trucks get a free ride in terms of pollution since the additional weight of a few semis is small compared to the overall weight of the ship. Perhaps the Univ of Delaware could correct their flawed study. My professors wouldn't have allowed such an obvious oversight.

Tri-cities realist

According to the link you posted (letter dated Aug 29, 2012) according to EPA " We have identified issues with the collectionandanalysisofthefivesamplesofcoalashtakenbyLMCfromtheS.S.Badger. We have determined that these issues, while significant, do not preclude using the data in developing a draft permitting decision. In accordance with 40 C.F.R. § 124.3, we have determined that LMC's permit application is complete." (the lack of spaces occurred when I pasted here, not sure why). So they HAVE submitted the results of FIVE tests. And their permit application is COMPLETE. But of course the EPA needs more info. This is typical of govt beauracrats, don't ask the Badger's operators for specific info, instead let them try to read EPA's mind. And then ask them for more info and let the cycle continue. So thanks for posting the link that refutes your statement in bold type above.

Vladtheimp

Mr. 100pcthuman - I never doubted you are what your name implies - there was really no need to post your ultrasound, but please post a link to the hospital. . . .

Tri-cities realist

Ultrasound lmao, I was thinking along the lines of blow hole.... But I digress. Or is it Ms. 100pctHuman? I'm guessing not since s/he did not correct us.

100pctHuman

Sorry. No blowhole. Best I can do is a picture of an ash hole.

&nbsp

GH55

We can dump this stuff, but we can't put one wind turbine out there! And by the poll that is going on right now, it would appear that most people that have voted, don't care about clean water, fish without mercury in them, or solving problems that the SS Badger owners have had several offers to help but turned down!

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