Friday, March 22, 2013

Settlement Would End S.S. Badger Coal Ash Discharge

Mar 22: U.S. EPA announced the lodging of a proposed consent decree that requires Lake Michigan Carferry Service, Inc. (LMC) of Ludington, Michigan, to eliminate the discharge of coal ash into Lake Michigan from the operation of the S.S. Badger by the end of the 2014 sailing season. In 2013 and 2014, the ferry will reduce its discharge of coal ash and LMC will pay a $25,000 civil penalty for violating mercury water quality standards in 2012, according to the proposed consent decree. 

    EPA Region 5 Administrator Susan Hedman said, "This consent decree offers the fastest and most certain path available to EPA to stop the discharge of coal ash from the Badger into Lake Michigan. The enforcement agreement reduces the discharge of coal ash more quickly and with greater oversight than would occur during the appeal of a decision to issue or deny a permit -- a process that often takes several years." The S.S. Badger was authorized to discharge coal ash under the 2008 National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) Vessel General Permit. A permit provision authorized that discharge until December 2012. The S.S. Badger is the last coal-fired ship operating on the Great Lakes.

    Last year, LMC applied for an individual NPDES permit to allow the S.S. Badger to continue discharging coal ash into Lake Michigan. In light of the settlement announced, EPA does not plan to make a decision on that permit application. DOJ and EPA will accept and consider comments on the proposed consent decree during a 30-day public comment period, to be announced shortly in the Federal Register. The proposed consent decree is available now on the DOJ website (see below).

    Access a release from EPA (click here). Access the legal complaint filed in Federal Court (click here). Access the proposed consent decree (click here). Access extensive background and a chronology on the S.S. Badger issue from EPA (click here). [GLakes, #Toxics, #Water]

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