SELC calls on FAA to start new review of flawed spaceport

Live oaks dripping with Spanish moss are a defining feature of Georgia's Cumerbland Island.  (© Charles Shoffner)

After spending over $7 million dollars and several years of pushing a proposed spaceport to launch medium-large rockets from the Georgia coast, the Camden County Board of Commissioners has abandoned that proposal. Instead the county board is seeking a license from the Federal Aviation Administration to launch small rockets.

News of the change came just days before the FAA was expected to issue a decision on the license application in December 2019, when the county abruptly informed the FAA it sought to change its proposal. Although Camden County claims that this change was intended to meet market demand, it follows an October letter from the FAA notifying the county that its application failed to satisfy the agency’s regulations, including the county’s inability to demonstrate that it can control and manage the population in the vicinity of the proposed launch site.

Following Camden County’s request, the FAA agreed to hit pause on Camden County’s prior application, while raising concerns about the county’s new proposal.

In response to these changes, SELC recently sent a letter to the FAA on behalf of the National Parks Conservation Association and One Hundred Miles calling for a supplemental environmental impact statement studying this new proposal. The letter makes the case that the previous draft Environmental Impact Statement focused on medium-large rockets, and the environmental effects of small rockets have not been studied.

“Facing significant roadblocks, Spaceport Camden proponents abandoned years of work and millions of dollars to focus their proposal on a different kind of facility for a different kind of rocket,” said Brian Gist, senior attorney for SELC. “The Camden County Board of Commissioners should stop wasting taxpayer money and recognize the obvious: this is the wrong location for such a risky, unprecedented project.” 

For more background on the Spaceport, visit this link.

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