CAMDEN COUNTY, Ga. – Plans to build a spaceport in Southeast Georgia are on hold right now. A judge will decide if a crucial part of the project should go before voters early next year.
This comes after two people sued Camden County over the purchase of land on the outskirts of Woodbine to build Spaceport Camden.
Paul Harris and James Goodman represent a section of Camden County residents who want the Spaceport Camden project grounded.
On Tuesday, a judge granted their request to temporarily halt the county from buying a 4,000-acre plot of land for the launch site until a Jan. 5 hearing. That hearing will decide if the sale can move ahead or if it will need to be approved by voters through a referendum.
Goodman says he’s strongly opposed to the spaceport project because of the environmental impacts.
“Head and hair and hyde, fin and scale, feather and beak, down to the molecular level of the soil of this beloved county — it’s all threatened,” Goodman said.
The Federal Aviation Administration performed an environmental impact study, looking at 14 different factors like air quality, climate, transportation, farming, natural resources and noise impacts.
Ultimately, on Monday, the FAA granted the spaceport a license to operate as a launch site, however, that’s based only on the launching of small vessels — or fewer than 3,300 pounds of payload.
It’s why Harris says the FAA license granted on Monday doesn’t actually do much.
“So it this is a permission to do nothing at all, except spend a lot more money on something that is highly, highly speculative, and the hype that’s coming out of it from the proponents about jobs and average salary and tourism, and it’s just not true,” Harris said.
The two opponents say the economic benefits of the spaceport are also being overblown.
“They’re spending money on something that is not feasible. There are all kinds of marketing hype about tourism, and jobs and average salary. It’s all nonsense,” Harris said.
County officials who back the project say that the concerns are unwarranted and that the benefits of the spaceport will far outweigh what they consider a very small to no risk.