Nearly 45 years ago -- in August of 1973 -- the S.C. Public Railways Commission became operational. Known today as Palmetto Railways, the entity, which is a division of the S.C. Department of Commerce, is integral to the movement of freight across South Carolina. A Class III, short line railroad, more than 100,000 carloads move on Palmetto Railways' tracks annually.
In recent years, the agency has been collaborating with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (Corps) and other stakeholders on the development of a new infrastructure asset -- a Navy Base Intermodal Facility (NBIF). Located on a 118-acre site on the former Charleston Naval Complex, the NBIF will offer equal connectivity to the area for both of the state's Class I rail carriers, CSX and Norfolk Southern. And, as a result, South Carolina businesses will be able to transport goods more efficiently across our state and beyond.
Two weeks ago, this project took a major step forward as the federal government released its Final Environmental Impact Statement (Final EIS). With that step complete, we are now in the midst of a 30-day public review period, which will conclude at the end of this month. The Corps will then use the Final EIS and public comments to determine whether to issue or deny the all-important Section 404 permit to advance the project.
A long time in the making, we celebrate the progress of the proposed NBIF facility. After all, this critical project will help us ensure that we're working to meet the needs of South Carolina's business community to keep our state growing.
Right Whale Southeast Seasonal Management Area &
WHALESSOUTH Mandatory Ship Reporting - closed for the season
April 15th marked the end of the 2016-2017 right whale calving season in the Southeast Seasonal Management Area (SMA). The Southeast SMA will remain inactive until November 15, 2017. ln addition, vessels entering the WHALESSOUTH Mandatory Ship Reporting area are not required to file a report until the season reopens on November 15, 2017.
The Mid-Atlantic Seasonal Management Areas and the associated speed restrictions of 10 kts will remain in effect for Mid-Atlantic coast ports from Long Island Sound to Savannah through April 30, 2017.
While the 2016-2017 right whale season has ended in the Southeast, vessels are reminded to remain vigilant and please report any late sightings to 1-877-WHALE-HELP or to the Coast Guard via Channel 16.
2016/2017 Season updates
Three new calves were observed in the Southeast this season and there were no known vessel strikes in this area. One juvenile male was successfully disentangled from fishing gear.
Unfortunately another calf born in the Southeast last season (2015/2016) has been found dead in the Northeast. Preliminary findings of bruising were consistent with blunt trauma. Final diagnosis is pending laboratory tests. For more information and updates please visit NOAA Fisheries Greater Atlantic Region's site: https://www.greateratlantic.fisheries.noaa.gov/mediacenter/2017/04/Update%20on%20Right%20Whale%20Found%20Dead%20in%20Cape%20Cod%20Bay.html
There is currently a large aggregation of right whales in the Northeast so if transiting north please heed regional SMAs as well as active Dynamic Management Areas (DMA). See the NOAA site for further information: http://www.nmfs.noaa.gov/pr/shipstrike/
The Southeast U.S. Implementation Team (SEIT) held its Public Forum on April 12th, 2017. Thank you to those in attendance.
The intention of the Forum is to involve stakeholders in implementation of the North Atlantic Right Whale Recovery Plan, to identify partnerships that can help address priority conservation needs, and to efficiently identify key emerging conservation issues. Key outcomes of SEIT meetings are posted here and will be updated soon:http://sero.nmfs.noaa.gov/protected_resources/right_whale/management_conservation/seit/index.html
There will be another SEIT meeting in the fall of 2017, dates to be determined and announced soon.
As always should you have any questions about this past season or if you have any regulatory issues you would like to discuss, please feel free to contact me. Thank you for your continued efforts to protect these remarkable animals!
LCDR Claire Surrey-Marsden
For Immediate Release
April 13, 2017
Scout Boats expanding Dorchester County operations
Product line expansion bringing 370 new jobs and more than $10 million investment
COLUMBIA, S.C. - Scout Boats, a designer and manufacturer of luxury coastal fishing boats, is expanding its existing Dorchester County operations. The company is adding multiple new boat models to its product catalog, bringing $10.9 million of capital investment and creating 370 new jobs.
Founded in 1989 and headquartered in Summerville, S.C., Scout Boats designs and manufactures a wide variety of luxury coastal fishing boats, including center console, dual console and bay boat models. Ranging from 17 feet to 53 feet lengths, Scout Boats' products can be found in more than 70 dealers across the nation and the world.
Located at 2351 Highway 78 West in Summerville, S.C., the expansion includes a new 120,000-square-foot facility, designed to accommodate the company's new 53-foot yacht model. Hiring for the new positions has already begun, and interested applicants should visit the company's careers page online.
The Coordinating Council for Economic Development has approved job development credits related to this project. A $350,000 Set Aside grant was also awarded to Dorchester County for road improvements associated with this project.
"We've been a long-standing boat builder and employer in South Carolina over the past three decades. From our humble beginnings to now one of the most respected and innovative boat builders in the industry, we are proud of our heritage and excited about our future. We couldn't be where we are today without them or the support of our state. We're excited about our future plans, as well as providing an incredible place to work for our current and future workforce here in Summerville." -Scout Boats Founder and CEO Steve Potts
"South Carolina's economy continues to grow with great companies like Scout Boats investing in our state and our people. Our state's manufacturing industry is one of the most important forces driving our economy, and that's because our skilled workforce has proven that it's better than any other in the world." -Gov. Henry McMaster
"We would like to congratulate Scout Boats for their tremendous investment in Dorchester County and in the State of South Carolina. The Palmetto State has been leading the way in manufacturing for some time now, and announcements from homegrown companies like this one ensure that South Carolina will continue to stay on top." -Secretary of Commerce Bobby Hitt
"We are very excited about the significant expansion of Scout Boats in Dorchester County, which is not their first since arriving in 1989. They are a major reason that Dorchester County has been named 'the boat building capital of South Carolina.' Scout is a locally-grown company committed to their community and their employees. Their technological innovation and new line of boats will be manufactured for clients all over the world, and we are very excited to witness their continued success." -Dorchester County Council Chairman Jay Byars
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