The nation's last coal-burning ferry, the SS Badger, sits on Lake Michigan in the port town of Ludington, Mich. The EPA permit that has long allowed the ship to dump coal ash into the lake is now under review.
Credit John Flesher / AP
Sally Cole, co-owner of Cole's Antiques Villa in Ludington, Mich., displays some of the shop's memorabilia from the SS Badger.
Credit Denise Stocker / Chicago Tribune/MCT via Getty Images
The Badger pulls out of the Ludington harbor for its four-hour journey to Manitowoc, Wis.
On the shores of Lake Michigan, the tiny town of Ludington, Mich., is home port to the last coal-fired ferry in the U.S. The SS Badger has been making trips across the lake to Manitowoc, Wis., during the good-weather months since 1953. And as it runs, the 411-foot ferry discharges coal ash slurry directly into the lake.
An Environmental Protection Agency permit allows the Badger to dump four tons of ash into the lake daily. But now, the agency has put the permit under review — and that means the Badger could stop sailing.
As environmentalists protest a western pipeline, northern New England towns also worry that a pipeline that crosses the region will soon carry tar sands oil from western Canada. Their concerns were heightened recently when the CEO of a local pipeline company told Vermont lawmakers he's looking for new business — including shipping the controversial heavy crude. Two dozen Vermont towns will consider the issue at their annual meetings this month.
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Can we keep evolving as we get older? That's a question comedian and commentator Kevin Heffernan decided to explore. And his approach to changing himself was an aromatic one.
KEVIN HEFFERNAN, BYLINE: Cologne, it's a life choice. Some say it's hereditary. If your dad did it, you will. Like what sports team you root for or circumcision. Some say it's cultural. Some say it's a necessity.
With President Obama nominating Ernest Moniz to be the nation's next energy secretary, he continued a relatively recent trend of putting scientists atop a part of the federal bureaucracy once overseen by political types.
If confirmed by the Senate, Moniz, an MIT physicist, will follow Nobel laureate Steven Chu, a University of California physicist who served as Obama's first-term energy secretary.
Though the thought of horse meat in British lasagna or Ikea meatballs may be stomach-churning to some people, in some cultures the practice of eating horse meat is not just acceptable, it's a treat. NPR's Peter Kenyon just returned from the Central Asian republic of Kazakhstan and checked out the meat market at the Green Bazaar in Almaty.
A mashup of innovation and old-school hacking (though none of the participants was bent on doing harm, we're assured), the goal of the competition was to improve the nation's health system and help people navigate the complexities of the Affordable Care Act.
From NPR News, this is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. I'm Audie Cornish.
An MIT physicist and Washington insider is the president's choice to run the Department of Energy. Ernest Moniz served as an undersecretary of energy for President Clinton. He now works at MIT, where his research institute publishes studies on energy that are considered required reading on Capitol Hill.
As NPR's Christopher Joyce reports, Moniz is a booster of solar and wind power but also some types of fossil fuel.
Votes are now being tallied in Kenya's presidential contest. The country has taken strides to avoid the kind of violence that followed the last election back in 2007, but today did not begin well. More than a dozen people were killed in attacks by separatists in Kenya's port city of Mombasa. But elsewhere, long lines and bureaucratic delays under a hot sun were the main obstacles for voters, who turned out in record numbers.
Islamists from Jabhat al Nusra stage their own protest in the town. Until recently, the group has been reluctant to appear in public.
Protesters in Kafr Nabl have become famous in Syria for their posters criticizing the government. Here they pose for a photo that will instantly be posted on Facebook, in front of a building that was shelled by government forces.
Young boys rush to Kafr Nabl's main square for the weekly Friday protest.
Kafr Nabl is surrounded by rocky hills covered with olive and fig trees. Located in northwest Syria near the Turkish border, it used to be a sleepy town of about 30,000 people. Then it rose up against the government in early 2011. More than a year later, the town was "liberated" by anti-government rebels who forced out soldiers and police who worked for the government.