News | January 22, 2016

Proposed Camden County spaceport raises environmental, safety concerns

As the Federal Aviation Administration reviews a proposal for a private spaceport site in rural Camden County, many questions remain about potential impacts to local air and water quality and whether the project would impose a safety hazard for surrounding areas.   

SELC and our partners One Hundred Miles and Satilla Riverkeeper submitted comments on the environmental review of the project, outlining concerns about an increase in air and noise pollution, the destruction of wetlands and compromised water quality. The 11,000-acre site sits in close proximity to invaluable wildlife habitat at the juncture of the Satilla River and the Intracoastal Waterway, near Jekyll, Little Cumberland and Cumberland Islands.

Along with environmental implications are safety concerns in the case of an accident; local residents and visitors may be required to evacuate the area on launch days as a result.  

Georgia coastal representative Jason Spencer, R-Woodbine, introduced the Georgia Space Flight Act last week, a bill intended to establish Camden County as the prime candidate for the spaceport site. The legislation prohibits people from suing for damages from spaceflight activities, and prohibits local governments from endorsing noise or nuisance regulations to stop spaceflight activities.

“This bill disregards all potential risks the spaceport may pose to private property owners and innocent bystanders just trying to live their lives on the Georgia coast,” One Hundred Miles Executive Director Megan Desrosiers told the Brunswick News in response to the legislation.

The FAA extended the public comment period until January 18th and will use the comments to inform its environmental study.

“At this point, there are still a number of questions about this project and the implications it could have for the citizens of Camden County and surrounding communities,” said Senior Attorney Gil Rogers. “We hope the Federal Aviation Administration will look at this proposal and the public’s input with a critical, objective eye.”

Read more coverage:

“Legislation proposed to boost Camden County’s chance at spaceport”, Atlanta Journal-Constitution

“Concerns expressed about spaceflight act”, Brunswick News