Last U.S. Coal-Fired Steamship Sails On, Aiming for a Cleaner Wake
Lake Michigan's S.S. Badger must meet pollution restrictions by next year.
As it has almost every year for more than six decades, the venerable S.S. Badger is again ferrying passengers, cars, and cargo across Lake Michigan this summer. But it's a different ship now.
Passengers shouldn't notice the changes. The beloved horns sound the same, the staterooms remain comfortable enough for a nap during the four-hour crossing, the TV lounges and restaurants are open for business. The large steamship, which is the last coal-burner on the Great Lakes and in the United States, retains its throwback grandeur.
What's missing is some of the ship's pollution. The Badger is sailing this summer season with a $1.2 million, high-tech combustion-control system that reduces the amount of coal it needs for the crossing. It also