Camden County Sued for Hiding Critical Spaceport Information from the Public
WOODBINE, GA – Environmental organizations filed new claims today against Spaceport Camden proponents for unlawfully withholding important public documents about the flawed project.
On behalf of One Hundred Miles, the Southern Environmental Law Center (SELC) has amended its ongoing lawsuit in Camden County Superior Court against Camden County and Spaceport Camden consultant Andrew Nelson for failing to meet requirements under the Georgia Open Records Act.
Over the past several years, One Hundred Miles and SELC have sent a series of public records requests to the County about what would happen in the event of a rocket explosion from the proposed spaceport or in the air over nearby communities and sensitive coastal areas, including Little Cumberland Island and the Cumberland Island National Seashore.
The groups have repeatedly asked for critical information concerning evacuation zones, hazard areas, and safety zones, as well as the County’s formal license application to operate a commercial spaceport submitted to the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA). Camden County has refused to provide one single page of public records in response to these requests.
“After more than seven years, the County continues to keep even the most basic details about this project from the public by violating the law,” said Megan Desrosiers, Executive Director of One Hundred Miles. “How can Camden communities feel assured that millions of their tax payer dollars are being spent wisely when they are denied any semblance of transparency?”
Documents obtained through SELC’s now-settled federal challenge against the FAA contain the same information that Camden County continues to withhold, and in some cases are the exact documents in full. Other documents released by the FAA demonstrate that the County routinely and illegally marks public records as exempt from disclosure, despite having no confidential information. One such document is the County’s revised license application following its last-minute decision in December 2019 to change the project from launching medium-to-large sized rockets to launching only small launch vehicles, which fail at a significantly higher rate.
“Camden County has gone to great lengths to hide the serious risks this project poses to public safety, personal property, and coastal way of life,” said April Lipscomb, Senior Attorney for the Southern Environmental Law Center. “It’s time for the County to stop this pattern of hiding information.”
About Southern Environmental Law Center: For more than 30 years, the Southern Environmental Law Center has used the power of the law to champion the environment of the Southeast. With over 80 attorneys and nine offices across the region, SELC is widely recognized as the Southeast’s foremost environmental organization and regional leader. SELC works on a full range of environmental issues to protect our natural resources and the health and well-being of all the people in our region. www.SouthernEnvironment.org
About One Hundred Miles: One Hundred Miles is a coastal advocacy organization dedicated to protecting, preserving and enhancing the 100-mile Georgia coast. One Hundred Miles seeks to bring statewide attention to the opportunities and challenges facing Georgia’s unique coast. www.onehundredmiles.org