Residents of Blythewood are concerned with Scout Motors complete disregard of environmentalism for the wetlands they are moving into and for the citizens they are building around. If you look into Scout Motors’ parent company, Volkswagen, you start to understand why they created a subsidiary company to distance themselves from their history of poisoning the communities they move into. If you dig a little further, you figure out that the president of Scout Motors was behind a lot of those issues, but was one of the few that escaped accountability.
As previously reported, Scout Motors is an electric vehicle German company that moved onto 1600 acres of land after the SC legislature rushed through $1.3 billion incentive package and $400 million in CASH in less than nine days. Don’t tell me that gridlock is ever an issue, because when the Uniparty stands to gain they get it done.
Governor Henry McMaster has been one of Scout Motors fiercest loyalists by stating that South Carolina “is the perfect place to re-start this iconic American brand.” Why is McMaster pushing for us to accept Scout Motors as an “American brand” that is clearly just a puppet of a German company?
History Of Dieselgate
According to Frankfuter Allgemeine, VW deliberately installed “defeat devices” in over 11 million of its diesel vehicles to cheat emissions testing globally since at least 2005. It is reported that these diesel vehicles were producing over 40 times higher than the federal limit of nitrogen dioxide in the air that is a common cause of lung cancer. In 2015, the United States EPA accused Volkswagen and Audi of installing these cheat devices in several vehicle models. VW admitted wrong doing, but did nothing to remedy. The U.S Department of Justice first sued Volkswagen on behalf of the EPA in 2016. Clifford Atiyeh reported in 2019 that “Volkswagen will now pay $14.7 billion to settle with three federal agencies suing the automaker for its excessive diesel emissions, the highest ever paid by a company for violations under the Clean Air Act.” Eight executives from Volkswagen and Audi were charged with various crimes related to these cheat devices. Former VW CEO Martin Winterkorn was indicted in 2018 for fraud and conspiracy.
Let’s take a look at one of the main players that seemed to rise to power seemingly unscathed from this scandal. Scott Keogh was president of Audi of America from 2012-2018, right in the middle of the Dieselgate scandal. All of a sudden, in 2018, Keogh was made President & CEO of Volkswagen of America. Does the timing seem a bit odd? Let’s make it even better. In August of 2022, Scott Keogh was made President & CEO of Scout Motors. Scout Motors attended Governor McMaster’s Electric Vehicle Summit on October 22, 2022. In fact, a large German newspaper the Handelsblatt, sent an email (obtained by PSW via FOIA) to the Governor’s office on October 20, 2022 with its article featuring South Carolina and Scout Motors. That’s interesting, since the legislature didn’t know about the Scout deal until it was rushed through in less than two weeks during March 2023.
Why did Scout Motors move here? In an interview with WIS10 Dawndy Mercy Plank, Scott Keogh says normally these kind of deals take “12-18 months” but in South Carolina is took “less than 60 days” “plus over the holidays.” Scott also says that he’s never met a government “so quick to say yes.”
Residents Left Behind
On June 23, 2023 Richland County Economic Development published a letter naming all “local opponents” with screenshots of local residents sharing concerns of what Scout Motors is doing to their homes. This letter was sent around to multiple companies, agencies, and elected officials across the state. Instead of trying to comfort and answer questions of concerned citizens, they instead have been blacklisted.
Oh and did I mention? Scout Motors has treated their new neighbors terribly. Not only has Scout been burning incessantly near older communities that use assisted oxygen to breath, they have refused to take phone calls or respond to the numerous emails from the common residents and farmers of Blythewood. Up until five days ago, they have not sent one representative from the company to answer questions or meet the residents.
Scout Motors has refused to let citizens and even state legislators see the site. However, on August 25th, Gov. McMaster and Scott Keogh went on a PR crusade through the Scout Motors property. On McMaster’s Facebook, he said that Scout Motors will “change lives of the Midlands residents…forever.” The Governor is not wrong. It will change lives, but not for the better.