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October 26 2010

No federal grant to convert SS Badger to diesel

The 1953-built Lake Michigan car ferry SS Badger will continue to be to the only coal-fired steamship in operation in North America -- at least for now.

The Ludington Daily News, reports that the City of Ludington, Mich., did not get a hoped for federal transporation grant that would have enabled Lake Michigan Carferry to convert the ship from steam to diesel.

Currently, SS Badger dumps its coal ash waste into Lake Michigan under an EPA permit that will allow it to continue this practice through the 2012 season. Converting to diesel was seen as the best option for meeting this mandate and the City of Ludington applied for a $14 million TIGER grant.

With that application declined, Lake Michigan Carferry says it "will now pursue other options to ensure the continuation of car ferry services." These could include fitting an on-board fly ash retention system with ash being discharged ashore for disposal.

Failure to secure the diesel grant is also a disappointment for Bay Shipbuilding Co., Sturgeon Bay, Wisconsin, which would have carried out the project.


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