WOODBINE — Four state representatives have filed a resolution asking for a careful study to the determine the impacts of a proposed spaceport in Camden County.
State Rep. Jason Spencer, sponsor of a bill to protect the space industry from lawsuits by injured employees, said the resolution, if passed, will send “conflicting messages” to the space industry.
The resolution calls for careful study and consideration a commercial spaceport in Camden County would have on Georgia ports, commercial fishing and shrimping, tourism and recreation and property rights.
Opponents of a spaceport in Camden County say launch trajectories could endanger people and property living on little Cumberland Island and potentially harm marshland, the ocean and maritime forest in the area in the event of a failed launch.
Spencer said one of the resolution’s sponsors, Rep. David Knight, R-Griffin, has concerns about HB 1, Spencer’s proposed legislation to protect the space industry from frivolous lawsuits. He said Knight does not have a full understanding of the the intent of his proposed legislation.
“I would welcome Rep. David Knight and any of the co-sponsors to come down to Camden County and visit the launch site so that they can have a full briefing on this project” he said. “We had multiple hearings last year and much of these issues were addressed. Also, many of these issues he is asserting that have not been studied are under review in the current FAA environmental impact statement.”
Spencer said it’s possible lobbyists hired to block his legislation influenced state legislators to write the resolution.
“I suppose the opposition wants their money’s worth and apparently have convinced some lawmakers to take a 20-second look at this project again,” he said. “It is certainly their right to do so.”
Spencer said many of the concerns expressed in the resolution have or will be addressed once the Federal Aviation Administration’s environmental assessment is completed later this year.
“I have offered to have our project manager and consultants to the project come and brief (Knight) on all the particulars, but at the present, he has not accepted a time or date for which to be briefed,” he said. “I believe he is still open to this. This resolution is his way of making a statement that the state should be cautious with the project. This is certainly his right.”
Spencer said his proposed legislation is expected to go to a vote in the Senate sometime next week. It was approved by the House this week.
“This project is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for our state, and it would be a shame to not see this come to fruition because of the influence of well funded and well connected people who know the political power structure well in Georgia,” he said. “For once, I would just like to see the common man and woman win one, so they can provide economic opportunities for their families and their futures.”