Camden County’s request for state and federal approval of a proposed spaceport has been getting more than the usual runaround. The county has been at it almost a decade now, and nine years and $10 million later, it’s still waiting for a straight yes or no answer from the Federal Aviation Administration.
Its request just keeps ricocheting among the various agencies involved in the permitting process. The latest deadline for approval or disapproval came and went this week. Claiming it needs more consulting time, the FAA now says it will be Nov. 3 before it is ready to provide an answer to the county’s request. By now, Camden officials know not to hold their breath.
The National Park Service, which manages the Cumberland Island National Seashore across the way, continues to express its reservations about a facility that would launch rockets across the barrier island. Camden’s permit would be only 12 launches a year, roughly one a month, but the park service fears what could happen if just one of the rockets went awry and crashed on the island. There’s residents, visitors and historic structures to think of, it stresses.
There’s risk in everything, but perhaps 13 — the number of rocket launch licenses that would have been issued by the government if it approves one for Camden County — is unlucky after all, for various reasons.
Luck or the lack of it aside, one might ask the question why the men and women who represent the people of these United States allow federal bureaucracies to drag their feet on applications. The answer, of course, is simple. They’re too busy engaging in political one-upmanship against each other to concern themselves with issues at home.
Enough! Yea or nay, render a decision based on science, history and experience. Let the government and the taxpayers of Camden County know whether they’re wasting their time, money and effort or if they have something that might work and benefit them and the nation.
There’s a pile of people totally behind this project and there’s a force of people completely against it. Decide so supporters can proceed with their plans or opponents can stop worrying it.
When all is said and done, it is the court that will make the final decision anyway. Count on the losing side filing a legal challenge to the outcome.