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S.S. Badger extension deal delayed

MANITOWOC, WI (WTAQ) - The owners of the S.S. Badger car ferry will have to wait a little longer to find out if the boat can operate next year.

The federal EPA granted a two-year extension in March to the Badger’s operating permit, which allows the boat to keep dumping coal ash into Lake Michigan.

A federal court is taking longer than expected to act on the extension. That’s because officials are still reviewing thousands of public comments on the matter.

The EPA and the Justice Department now have until October 26th to ask a judge for a final approval of the extension.

In the meantime, the Badger continues its daily runs between Manitowoc and Ludington Michigan while the request is being reviewed.

The Badger – the oldest steamship on the Great Lakes – was supposed to shut down after last year unless it could find a cleaner way to dump its exhaust. The owners say they’re working on alternatives.