Lockheed Martin’s announcement last week that it will move production of the F-16 fighter plane to a plant in Greenville could be big news for a Greenville Technical College program.
Greenville Tech has an aircraft maintenance program licensed by the Federal Aviation Administration to train 120 students. Those students are split between 60 on day shift and 60 on night shift.
The Greenville News reports the program is located just across the runway from Lockheed Martin’s site at Donaldson Center Airport. Some of Lockheed’s employees are instructors at Greenville Tech.
A Lockheed spokeswoman said last week the company plans to assemble its final Taxas-made plane at its Fort Worth facility in September before shutting the F-16 assembly line for roughly 18 months to relocate.
Coincidently, two years is the time it takes for an individual to complete the aircraft maintenance program at Greenville Tech.
The company is among those seeking win a contract to assemble a new type of advanced training jet for the U.S. Air Force.
The newspaper reported in December that, if Lockheed wins the contract bid, it could mean between $8-$10 billion in business for the company. The win could also mean the possibility of 200 new jobs over the next 16 years.
South Carolina’s top environmental board said it wants at least another year of study for an experimental seawall that’s being tested as a way to prevent severe erosion along parts of the coast.
The Department of Health and Environmental Control (DHEC) board went against its own agency staff — who had recommended removing the “Wave Dissipation Systems” (WDS) at spots on Isle of Palms and Beaufort County. The system is being piloted as a way to protect condos and beachhouses instead of sandbags. But environmental groups have filed legal action, saying the devices violate the state’s ban on seawalls and can prevent endangered sea turtles from nesting.
But the agency staff also disagreed with the Citadel professor who was acting as the project’s lead researcher, as well as an independent engineer who was hired to review the tests. In the end, board members seemed frustrated by the disagreement over measurable findings. “Clarifying what you’re measuring and how you’re going to measure it is a basic during a design experiment,” board member L. Clarence Batts, Jr., said. “And I didn’t hear or see anything in this report to indicate that was done in a formal way.” [Read more…]
The South Carolina Environmental Law Project said this week it will challenge a federal agency’s decision that cleared the way for a natural gas pipeline in the Upstate.
SCLEP attorney Michael Corley claimed in an interview with South Carolina Radio Network that the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission rushed to a decision on the pipeline before FERC Commissioner Norman Bay retired. Without Bay’s vote, Corley said the agency could not have approved the project.
“Under their normal operation they wouldn’t be issuing decision or making decisions at that pace,” said Corley.
Last month, the Dominion Carolina Gas Transmission asked the regulatory agency to finalize its decision before Feb. 3 so it could stay on its construction schedule. The company plans to build the pipeline between Greenwood and Spartanburg counties in anticipation of future demand across the state. Corley said he thinks it curious that FERC complied to that request and some other ones by that date.
A daily review of what’s making news in South Carolina state government.
— A House effort to block local governments from banning plastic bags and styrofoam coolers failed to pass Wednesday, with opponents muscling just enough votes to delay debate until next year. Democrats and coastal Republicans allied to narrowly block the legislation, which would have prevented municipalities from banning “auxiliary containers.” The 50-49 vote effectively killed the proposal in the House until 2018. Supporters of the bill said South Carolina needs uniform trash laws across the state. Opponents accused House leaders of overreaching into local affairs for the benefit of a plastics company in Hartsville which could be impacted by the ban.
— House members approved legislation Tuesday that would tighten the restrictions on mopeds in South Carolina — although not as severely as was originally proposed. The measure approved in a 75-29 vote would require moped drivers to have a license, wear reflective vests at night and for drivers under 21 to wear a helmet, among other changes. Supporters agreed to a late amendment that would allow mopeds to drive on roads with a speed limit of up to 55 mph (originally, the bill barred mopeds from roads with speed limits of 45 mph). The proposal heads to the Senate after another procedural vote. Senators have already passed a similar bill — although it did not include the reflective vest requirement. [Read more…]
Richland County will receive bids Wednesday on a proposed three-mile greenway that, when finished, will eventually connect downtown Columbia with the Riverbanks Zoo.
“What we haven’t been able to do is connect the dots between the zoo, which gets about 1.4 million (visitors) a year and the museum cluster downtown,” River Alliance CEO Mike Dawson said. “So we’re going to have people moving back and forth, but they’re also going to be going out there to just see the river.”
Construction on the new Saluda Riverwalk is set to begin in June and take about a year to finish, according to Dawson. The initial phase would create a concrete pathway along the Saluda River’s north bank between the Interstate 126 bridge over the Broad River and the Interstate 26 bridge over the Saluda roughly three miles away. The trail would pass the Riverbanks Zoo. [Read more…]
The total solar eclipse that will streak across the United States from coast to coast on Aug. 21 will pass directly over Clemson University, along with Columbia, Charleston and other cities across South Carolina.
College of Science physics and astronomy lecturer Amber Porter told South Carolina Radio Network Clemson faculty are searching for the perfect spot to view the eclipse. “We’re trying to nail down our location on campus, kind of our main location where we want everybody to gather to see the eclipse,” she said.
A total solar eclipse is most a once-in-a-lifetime experience for most individuals. The last coast-to-coast solar eclipse in the U.S. was recorded in 1918.
“We’re trying to get the word out in the community,” Porter said. “We’re putting on a variety of different events.”
On Aug. 21, the eclipse will begin its pass over the Upstate at about 1:07 p.m. EDT and finish around 4:02 p.m. But the totality of the eclipse the part that viewers will find the most fascinating will begin around 2:37 p.m. and last less than three minutes.
Clemson University already is making plans to host its own eclipse viewing event that will include in-person appearances by a slew of College of Science experts. Anyone interested in attending the viewing party will be able to learn more details starting April 1 when clemson.edu/eclipse debuts. It will include a schedule of events, numerous stories and updates, and instructions about how to safely view the eclipse by wearing solar glasses.
“Few places in the nation grasp the significance of this better than Clemson University, whose team of scientists and staff are piecing together plans to have a large celebration where we can all gather on campus and experience the eclipse together,” Porter said in a statement. Leading up to the eclipse, you can schedule a show in Clemson University’s digital planetarium. Also, physics and astronomy graduate students will be hosting solar viewing pop-up events on campus and at local libraries, which will have demonstrations available for hands-on play to demonstrate how eclipses occur.”
South Carolina environmental regulators estimate it will cost $35 million to clean up a former uranium processing plant in Barnwell County which the state forcibly shut down 15 years ago.
The Department of Health and Environmental Control (DHEC) said the former Starmet CMI site presents a potential danger due to uranium contamination in its soil and the aftereffects of 18,000 radioactive material drums which were once stored improperly.
The Starmet site operated roughly seven miles southwest of Barnwell for nearly 20 years until DHEC ordered it shut down in 2002. At the time, the agency said the site posed an “imminent threat” to public health — particularly 550,000 gallons of uranium-contaminated water and radiation doses above safe levels detected at the property boundary. [Read more…]
A new audit into the South Carolina agency that sets aside grants for the conservation of land criticizes that agency for committing future funds it is not guaranteed to receive and for not ensuring the land it preserves with state funds can be visited by the public.
The South Carolina Conservation Bank says it has helped secure $276 million towards land protection efforts since its creation 15 years ago, through the use of grants and matching funds. The bank will sometimes help fund efforts to purchase land for conservation efforts or will finance conservation easements on property owners with the condition that the property not be developed.
However, the bank’s operating laws will require it to shut down in June 2018 if the legislature does not reauthorize it before then. Lawmakers are working to reauthorize this spring, but expect a fight from opponents who believe the bank has expanded beyond its original purpose. [Read more…]
President Trump spoke in North Charleston Friday afternoon to workers at the Boeing plant as the company debut its 787-10 Dreamliner variant.
In a quick 15-minute speech, the president touched on many of his campaign themes. “America is going to start winning again, winning like never ever before,” he told an estimated 5,000 people at the rollout ceremony. “We’re not going to let our country be taken advantage of anymore.”
“We’re here to celebrate American engineering and manufacturing. We’re here today to also celebrate jobs,” Trump said.
“Our country is all about making dreams come true. Over the last number of years that hasn’t been necessarily the case. But we’re going to make it the case again,” Trump said.
Trump praised Boeing and its workers. “We dream of things then we build them. We turn vision into reality,” Trump told the cheering crowd.
It was Trump’s first visit to South Carolina since winning the state’s Republican presidential primary nearly a year ago.