Protect Lake Michigan from Coal Ash Pollution

Target: Michigan Governor Rick Snyder

Goal: To withdraw the S.S. Badger from active ferrying service along Lake Michigan.

The Great Lakes are perhaps the greatest natural wonder within the United States, comprising over one-fifth of the entire planet’s surface fresh water. This makes them a national icon to be treasured and protected. Sadly this is far too often not the case, as pollution remains a tremendous issue that plagues the great lakes.

According to a Natural Resources Defense Council report, beaches along the Great Lakes (Lake Michigan especially) have the highest level of contamination incidents in the country. This pollution and subsequent contamination outbreaks can lead to ailments such as the stomach flu, pink eye, respiratory illnesses, and hepatitis. Beyond the health risks it poses to beach-goers, it can also be extremely harmful to local wildlife within the Great Lakes ecosystem.

Steps must be taken to reduce this growing issue of pollution within the Great Lakes. While the logistics of curbing storm runoff and contamination relating to power plants along Lake Michigan are quite daunting, there are many small steps that can be taken far more easily and can have a tremendous cumulative effect.

One such step is put an end to the operation of the S.S. Badger. This ship is the only remaining coal-powered ferry in the United States, a relic from a past time when clean-energy alternatives did not exist. Claiming that cleaner burning upgrades are not cost-effective for the company that runs the ferry, the ferry’s ownership even goes so far as to cite the greater harm other corporations are causing to the lake as a primary reason for justifying a five-year extension.

This concept is ludicrous; the continued operation of the S.S. Badger should not even be under consideration. Coal-burning engines dump an array of harmful pollutants into Lake Michigan, most notably coal ash deposits. Once they have entered into the lake, it becomes extremely difficult to rid these pollutants in a body of water as large as one of the Great Lakes.

Demand that the S.S. Badger not be given the extension it seeks until a cleaner energy alternative to its current coal-powered operation is utilized.

PETITION LETTER:

Dear Governor Snyder,

The Great Lakes are a national icon, as much a part of our country’s natural identity as the Grand Canyon or Mississippi River. Covering more than one-fifth of the entire world’s surface fresh water supply, these treasures needs to be given the utmost care and protection to ensure they remain as untarnished symbols of this nation’s environmental splendor.

Unfortunately, these lakes are slowly devolving into a monument to pollution and contamination. A report by the Natural Resources Defense Council notes that beaches along the Great Lakes, especially those along Lake Michigan, contain the highest level of contamination incidents in the country. This pollution and the resulting contamination can lead to ailments such as stomach flu, pink eye, various respiratory illnesses, and hepatitis. Beyond the health risks it poses to beach-goers, it is also extremely harmful to local wildlife which rely upon the Great Lakes ecosystem.

Greater efforts must be taken to ensure this pollution is reduced drastically. Efforts are underway to address major issues such as storm runoff, but in the interim there are other issues that can be addressed far more readily which can have an enormous cumulative impact upon the Great Lakes.

One such issue is that of the S.S. Badger, which at present serves as the only operational coal-powered ferry in the United States. The operators of this ferry are seeking to get a five year extension to continue to operate within Lake Michigan despite utilizing a pollutive and outdated coal-fueled motor. Ownership of the ferry claims that cleaner burning upgrades are not cost-effective and even go so far as to cite the greater harm other corporations are causing to the lake as a primary reason for justifying a five-year extension.

This must not be allowed. I urge you to withhold the extension sought by the S.S. Badger as long as it remains under coal power. Help stop coal ash pollution of Lake Michigan by taking the S.S. Badger off the lake.

Sincerely,

[Your Name Here]

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