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Congressman Bill Huizenga - Op-Ed supporting coal ash dumping into Lake Michigan by SS Badger carferry.

Congressman Bill Huizenga - Op-Ed supporting coal ash dumping into Lake Michigan by SS Badger carferry.

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Published by LakeMichiganFiles
Viewpoint: Congressman Bill Huizenga defends the Badger's right to continue operating


West Michigan, Feb 5 -

There is a lot of misinformation about the S.S. Badger and coal ash.

The fact is, even the Environmental Protection Agency has ruled that the Badger’s coal ash is “nonhazardous.” Coal ash discharges from the Badger are legal and tested regularly by an independent EPA-certified laboratory. These tests have confirmed that the coal ash from the Badger lacks the presence of anything at or near levels that would qualify as hazardous under any law. A mudslide at a power plant in Wisconsin dumped tons of coal ash into Lake Michigan, and the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources reported, “… it will probably have little effect on the environment and none on human health.”

The primary environmental problems in the Great Lakes do not arise from coal ash. Dumping of other waste such as untreated sanitary waste, and invasions by nonnative species, are the threats we need to collectively address.
The extreme environmental rhetoric being used to attack the Badger in order to shut it down is risking a slippery slope. If the EPA or any other federal agency is allowed to change the rules of operation without proper review, they could stop all recreational and commercial boats in West Michigan. This would be very detrimental to Michigan’s economy, and is extremely concerning considering the recent interest in taking advantage of Muskegon’s deepwater port for economic growth, a move I support.

Communities up and down the lakeshore benefit from jobs and an economy heavily reliant on vibrant tourism. I assure you, losing $21 million of the Badger’s economic impact will not only devastate an entire community but will have negative repercussions throughout West Michigan.

Imagine if the EPA or any federal agency came into your community and attempted to shutter a major business if it didn’t comply with brand-new, unprecedented, ad hoc rules. I would do everything I could to protect those jobs for West Michigan.

Giving the Badger the time and certainty needed to feasibly install an alternative propulsion system is a reasonable way to protect the jobs it provides to our area.

And that’s what it needs: time. The Badger is not asking for a “free pass” from regulation, but for more time to develop and implement what would be the cleanest operating vessel on the Great Lakes. Each of the options recommended by various elected officials for conversion of the Badger’s propulsion system has been studied at length by the ship’s owners and outside experts. Simply none of the options are economically feasible at this time. Successful implementation of natural gas on the Badger is an ongoing project and, if granted more time, could result in the immediate conversion for the Badger as well as many other ships currently operating.

We can all agree we want to enjoy our lakes and see the continued economic boost from a diverse economy that includes tourism, manufacturing and Great Lakes commerce. That includes helping the Badger's transition to the cleanest operating vessel on the lakes.

The fact is, shutting the Badger down will destroy hundreds of jobs and the tens of millions of dollars it provides to Michigan’s economy. As your representative, I support anyone in the 2nd District working to create jobs and capital. I am proud to support the Badger, an economic engine for all of West Michigan, as it transitions to its next stage.

Bill Huizenga represents the 2nd Congressional District of Michigan, which includes Muskegon and Ludington.
###
Viewpoint: Congressman Bill Huizenga defends the Badger's right to continue operating


West Michigan, Feb 5 -

There is a lot of misinformation about the S.S. Badger and coal ash.

The fact is, even the Environmental Protection Agency has ruled that the Badger’s coal ash is “nonhazardous.” Coal ash discharges from the Badger are legal and tested regularly by an independent EPA-certified laboratory. These tests have confirmed that the coal ash from the Badger lacks the presence of anything at or near levels that would qualify as hazardous under any law. A mudslide at a power plant in Wisconsin dumped tons of coal ash into Lake Michigan, and the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources reported, “… it will probably have little effect on the environment and none on human health.”

The primary environmental problems in the Great Lakes do not arise from coal ash. Dumping of other waste such as untreated sanitary waste, and invasions by nonnative species, are the threats we need to collectively address.
The extreme environmental rhetoric being used to attack the Badger in order to shut it down is risking a slippery slope. If the EPA or any other federal agency is allowed to change the rules of operation without proper review, they could stop all recreational and commercial boats in West Michigan. This would be very detrimental to Michigan’s economy, and is extremely concerning considering the recent interest in taking advantage of Muskegon’s deepwater port for economic growth, a move I support.

Communities up and down the lakeshore benefit from jobs and an economy heavily reliant on vibrant tourism. I assure you, losing $21 million of the Badger’s economic impact will not only devastate an entire community but will have negative repercussions throughout West Michigan.

Imagine if the EPA or any federal agency came into your community and attempted to shutter a major business if it didn’t comply with brand-new, unprecedented, ad hoc rules. I would do everything I could to protect those jobs for West Michigan.

Giving the Badger the time and certainty needed to feasibly install an alternative propulsion system is a reasonable way to protect the jobs it provides to our area.

And that’s what it needs: time. The Badger is not asking for a “free pass” from regulation, but for more time to develop and implement what would be the cleanest operating vessel on the Great Lakes. Each of the options recommended by various elected officials for conversion of the Badger’s propulsion system has been studied at length by the ship’s owners and outside experts. Simply none of the options are economically feasible at this time. Successful implementation of natural gas on the Badger is an ongoing project and, if granted more time, could result in the immediate conversion for the Badger as well as many other ships currently operating.

We can all agree we want to enjoy our lakes and see the continued economic boost from a diverse economy that includes tourism, manufacturing and Great Lakes commerce. That includes helping the Badger's transition to the cleanest operating vessel on the lakes.

The fact is, shutting the Badger down will destroy hundreds of jobs and the tens of millions of dollars it provides to Michigan’s economy. As your representative, I support anyone in the 2nd District working to create jobs and capital. I am proud to support the Badger, an economic engine for all of West Michigan, as it transitions to its next stage.

Bill Huizenga represents the 2nd Congressional District of Michigan, which includes Muskegon and Ludington.
###

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Published by: LakeMichiganFiles on Sep 17, 2012
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial

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