Environmental impact statements are required under federal law for major actions which significantly affect the quality of the human environment. The intent is to facilitate informed decision making by federal agencies and the citizens affected by these decisions. At recent Federal Aviation Administration hearings on a Draft Environmental Impact Statement (DEIS) for the controversial Spaceport Camden, concerned citizens rightly expressed grave doubts about the quality of the analysis.

The DEIS is negligently incomplete and misleading. It contains flagrant omissions and biases, which lead to completely unfounded conclusions. Below are three examples:

• Hazardous waste sites resulting from former industrial operations (including the manufacture of the lethal pesticide aldicarb) exist on the proposed site. A restrictive covenant placed on the property by the Georgia Environmental Protection Division to protect the public, prohibits any activities which could result in exposure to or the release of hazardous materials. The DEIS, by ignoring important details about the nature of this toxic legacy, fails to answer questions about how disturbances caused by the construction and operation of the spaceport would endanger the public.

• “Hazard areas” for rocket launching depicted in the DEIS are grossly understated and very poorly evaluate the consequences to public safety, taxpayer burdens and property rights.

• The DEIS glosses over how the project would violate the federally designated Wilderness Area on Cumberland Island National Seashore.

The FAA has failed to meet their legal obligation to provide a complete and impartial study of this project’s environmental impact.

Karen Grainey

Center for a Sustainable Coast

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