MANITOWOC, Wisc. (WFRV) The fate of the Lake Michigan Carferry (LMC) is still up in the air.
The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) said they would make a ruling by March 1st concerning the special permit required to keep the car ferry service afloat. That permit would allow the Badger to continue to operate while working to eliminate the dumping of coal ash into Lake Michigan. The decision has been pushed back and is now "anticipated in March 2013", according to the EPA.
While no decision has been made, the LMC says it's going ahead with plans to kick off their 60th anniversary sailing season. In fact, they will set sail May 6th, two weeks earlier than expected, in order to ship wind turbine parts.
Local 5's Wendy Fleury asked LMC how they could continue operating without the required permit. They responded with a statement from their lawyer, Barry Hartman.
"Under federal laws, anyone who applies for a new permit to replace an expiring one like LMC has done is specifically allowed by law to keep operating under the expired permit until a final decision is made on the new permit. This is done frequently. Every year there are as many as 10,000 companies operating under expired permits like the Badger's, while their permits are being considered."
If the EPA grants the permit, the SS Badger would be allowed to sail for another 5 years, allowing time to convert from coal to a cleaner source of fuel--natural gas.