State proposes more mitigation for Scout

Officials Answer Community Scout Questions

Mark Johnston, center, studies the Scout site model on Tuesday during one of three community information meetings at Doko Manor. | Photos: Barbara Ball

BLYTHEWOOD – During an information meeting held by Team SC (SC Department of Commerce, Richland County Economic Development and other state agencies with oversight over the Scout project), SC Commerce Secretary Harry Lightsey announced that the Department, in conjunction with Richland County Economic Development, has filed a revised mitigation package for the Scout project to include the Sumter National Forest. 

The increase is seen as an effort to gain approval from the Army Corps of Engineers to resume construction on the Scout site.

Construction was suspended Sept. 1 in agreement with the Army Corps of Engineers after concerns were raised about wetlands on the site, according to county officials. Construction is expected to resume after a wetlands permit is issued by the Army Corps of Engineers.

“We feel this new package is truly extraordinary,” Lightsey said. “It greatly enhances the original filing.”

The Sumter Forest mitigation is in addition to the 5,000-acre Biddler Tract off Bluff Road and the Sheldon Island in the Broad River in the current mitigation package.

The new mitigation package includes stream mitigation in the Sumter Forest as well as improvements to land along the Congaree River, according to Lightsey. He said the package will open previously private land to the public.

“The new mitigation package has over two times the amount of mitigation credits each for streams and wetlands,” he said.

Lightsey said the revised plan was filed with the Army Corps of Engineers on Sept. 15 for approval and, when approved, is expected to be put out for a public hearing in the coming weeks.

The SC Department of Natural resources recommended the Sumter National Forest stream project to the state because the project had already received federal approval in connection with Duke Energy’s abandoned plans to build a nuclear power plant in Cherokee County, according to the Department’s Executive Director Robert Boyles.

In its June 7, 2023 letter to the Corps, the Southern Environmental Law Firm pointed out, however, that there are opportunities to mitigate impacts within the same watershed – such as Crane Creek or another suitable mitigation site – and questioned why the county had rejected such opportunities.

“We understand that this site would not only provide mitigation in the same watershed, but would also provide benefits to downstream environmental justice communities who will be impacted by the project,” the letter stated.

According to the county’s Office of Economic Development, the total linear feet of stream on the combined, revised mitigation tracts is approximately 256,279, of which approximately 92,700 linear feet will be restoration/enhancement. The remainder will be preservation.

The sites will also be preserving 1,649 acres of wetlands and enhancing an additional 810 acres of wetlands. The total revised credit generation is still being calculated, but county officials said it will be more than 500,000 stream credits and approximately 3,293 wetlands credits, which they explained is more than is actually needed.

In addition, the applicants will be applying 42,510 stream credits from the Mill Creek mitigation bank, of which 9,255 credits are preservation and 33,255 credits are restoration.

SC Department of Commerce Secretary Harry Lightsey answers questions from the media during the community Information sessions at Doko Park on Tuesday afternoon.

Community Information Session Drop-ins

State and county government departments and various other government agencies, designated as TeamSC, hosted a series of public meetings Sunday, Monday and Tuesday for the public to view an approximately 9-foot square scale model of the entire Scout manufacturing site at Doko Manor. Officials were available to guide the public through the site, providing information about noise mitigation for Ashley Oaks residents, traffic control, and what work will be done in which buildings on the site.

The model has since been moved to a room in the Blythewood Library for viewing by the public during library hours. The areas of the model are not labeled, but officials say a video will soon be available in the room that will walk visitors through the site, identifying the body shop, paint shop, assembly facility, battery installation building and other important areas of the site.

For more information go to

Contact us: (803) 767-5711 | P.O. Box 675, Blythewood, SC 29016 | [email protected]