WOODBINE — State Rep. Jason Spencer says opponents of a proposed spaceport in Camden County are using “underhanded tactics” to block his proposed Georgia Spaceflight Act.
Opponents to the legislation that would protect spaceport operators from nuisance claims are a group of property owners who live part-time on Little Cumberland Island, he said.
“They live outside Camden County and they’re not part of the community,” he said. “This is very elitist of them.”
Spencer, R-Woodbine, said he received an email from the Little Cumberland Homes Association that outlines the strategy to use to stop his proposed legislation.
A state House spaceport subcommittee will meet 8:15 to 11 a.m. today to discuss the project at the College of Coastal Georgia auditorium in Kingsland. After the public meeting, Spencer said the state legislators will tour the site and some will fly over the launch site and Cumberland Island.
Supporters and opponents have been selected to speak to the state lawmakers but members of the audience will not be allowed to ask questions or voice their opinions.
If the legislation is approved, opponents believe it takes away their rights to sue if a rocket accident causes death and property damage or to complain about light pollution and noise.
“In the spirit of compromise, this language was removed and the broader waiver liability shield between the space flight operator and the space flight participant remained intact,” Spencer said. “So, the charge in the email that the removed language will resurface is not honest and only serves to agitate the opposition’s base of support for the mere purposes of raising thousands of dollars to pay highly influential lobbyists, like former Secretary of State Lewis Massey.”
Opponents also plan to hire a professor from Auburn University to conduct a risk analysis to Cumberland and Little Cumberland islands if rockets are launched from the proposed site.
Spencer questioned the professor’s qualifications and loyalties to his own state which has already passed similar legislation.
“Alabama is a direct competitor to Georgia,” he said. “They’re trying to sabotage the project. They’re not team Georgia.”
Kevin Lang, an opponent, urged people in an email to donate to the lobbying effort needed to stop the legislation.
“There is a tremendous amount of work to be done in the next 12 months if we are going to be successful in protecting the Cumberland Island National Seashore from the risks presented by the proposed spaceport,” Lang said. “It is our hope we can broaden our support base and raise the funds needed to wage this battle.”