A councilman says Gov. Henry McMaster could cement his legacy through VC Summer response

Gov. Henry McMaster. (Source: Office of the Governor of South Carolina)
Gov. Henry McMaster. (Source: Office of the Governor of South Carolina)
Published: Aug. 9, 2017 at 11:30 PM EDT|Updated: Aug. 10, 2017 at 8:20 AM EDT
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FAIRFIELD COUNTY, SC (WIS) - At the Broad River Campground in Fairfield County, just a few miles from V.C. Summer, it's hard to spot a camper, but it's easy to find metaphorical tumbleweeds: dumpsters are nearly full, a charcoal grill sits left behind, and so do stacks of unused firewood.

The campground was full of V.C. Summer construction workers until thousands were laid off and a gigantic nuclear expansion project was abandoned.

"People feel like they were done dirty out there," said an anonymous laid off worker nicknamed Fred. "They didn't give us any jobs to go to, any phone numbers, any exit interview, no nothing. Grab your lunch. Get out the job. We d ropped our badges in a grocery bag – or a trash bag – out through the gate."

Wednesday afternoon, Fred and his wife, who was also laid off from the plant, were still at the campground after the surprise abandonment last week.

Related: Leaked emails tell tales of success in days before VC Summer's sudden abandonment

"Like somebody sneaking up and stabbing you in the back. There was rumors where they might shut down, but we always thought that they would shut one unit down, maybe put a skeleton crew on it, and finish the other unit, because there was so much, because there was so much time and money invested in the project out there," he said.

But now, there's at least a chance the work will continue.

RELATED: See photos from the now shuttered VC Summer site.

Wednesday, Governor Henry McMaster announced he's trying to revive some of the construction by bringing another utility in to finish the work.

That's why Fairfield County Councilman Neil Robinson, whose wife was laid off, said if the governor is successful, it could cement his legacy.

"It definitely could define his term in office. It definitely could give him a black eye also," Robinson said.

Meanwhile, a former workforce is scattering. Fred will be hitting the road to Lake Charles, Louisiana Wednesday night.

"That's where the work is," he said. "Louisiana and Texas. Down in that area."

Fred said if he ever came back to work at V.C. Summer's expansion, leadership would have to change.

"If you have a dog that's sucking eggs, you don't give him to your neighbor. You go ahead and kill him and get rid of him," he said.

As for the campground, the owner is hoping work will resume, but if it doesn't, he's thinking about using some adjacent land to build an ATV trail.

He's also hoping to attract campers who will soon flock to the area to see the eclipse. Unlike most places, he has plenty of vacancies for now. He can be reached at 803-622-2080 or by going to the Broad River Campground website.

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