April 26, 2013
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
April 26, 2013
Great Lakes Environmental Groups Ask U.S. Department of Justice and U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to Strengthen Proposed Consent Decree with Coal-Ash-Dumping Ferry Boat
It’s Time for the S.S. Badger to Clean Up Its Operation and Stop Polluting Lake Michigan
CHICAGO – A half dozen regional and national environmental groups filed joint written comments Friday requesting that the U.S. Department of Justice and U.S. Environmental Protection Agency strengthen the proposed consent decree that allows the S.S. Badger to continue dumping coal ash into Lake Michigan for two more years.
The S.S. Badger is the last coal-fired steamship on the Great Lakes and each year it dumps more than 500 tons of coal ash directly into Lake Michigan. A previous agreement required the ship to end its dumping of coal ash in 2012.
The comments, submitted by The Environmental Law & Policy Center, Alliance for the Great Lakes, National Parks Conservation Association, National Wildlife Federation, Natural Resources Defense Council and Sierra Club, requested that the U.S. Department of Justice strengthen the proposed consent decree for the S.S. Badger in four principal areas:
“It’s time for the S.S. Badger to clean up its operations and stop polluting Lake Michigan,” said Howard Learner, executive director of the Environmental Law & Policy Center. “The leading Great Lakes environmental organizations are requesting that the U.S. Department of Justice and EPA strengthen the consent decree to reduce the S.S. Badger’s coal ash dumping sooner and with no further extensions.”
The six Great Lakes environmental organizations have numerous members who are affected by and concerned about water pollution that may cause or contribute to impairments of Lake Michigan. Among these members are many who swim and fish in Lake Michigan, who eat fish caught in Lake Michigan and who drink water from Lake Michigan. The organizations represent hundreds of thousands of members concerned about and engaged in restoring and protecting Lake Michigan and the Great Lakes.
Two weeks ago, the groups outlined their requests at the website ProtectOurLake.org. The groups also created an awareness campaign on social media using the hashtag #SSBadger. This week alone, hundreds of tweets using that hashtag came from residents of the Midwest urging the U.S. Department of Justice and Environmental Protection Agency to take action. Additionally, more than 6,000 letters were sent to the Department of Justice requesting that the four strengthening points above be considered.
The groups will be watching closely as the Department of Justice and Environmental Protection Agency review the comments. The S.S. Badger’s season is scheduled to begin on May 6.