What are Some of the IMPACTS?
People have different concerns about the spaceport. Some are very concerned about impacts on the environment, human health and welfare, and wildlife endangerment. Others are concerned about changes to Camden's less stressful 'way-of-life', traffic and impacts on public services. While others are worried that the County is financially over-reaching. Here are a few of the questions we've heard from the community.
Please click here if you would like to add your own questions to this list.
How big will the closure zone be? Will Cumberland Sound and St. Andrews Sound be closed? Will the Cumberland Ferry operate? Can I fish off my own dock if it is in the closure zone? Will inshore boating be stopped off Cumberland? How do I know if I am entering a closed zone? How will the public know if waterways are being closed? Am I liable for the cost of a delayed launch if I enter the closed zone but did not know about the closure? Will I be fined? Will the boat ramps at Crooked River State Park and Harriett's Bluff or elsewhere be closed? Will spaceport launches interfere with shipping at the Ports of Brunswick, St. Marys, Jacksonville and Fernandina?
What adjustments to opertions will the NPS have to make at Cumberland Island? How will Cumberland Island visitors be affected when they have made their reservations 180 days in advance? Do any other National Wilderness Areas allow space launches immediately overhead? It looks like Plum Orchard Mansion will be under just about every launch - will it be harmed by vibrations or falling debris? Will allowing launches over Cumberland violate the Wilderness Act and the National Environmental Policy Act? If vehicles are severely limited on Cumberland because they can harm the Wilderness Area, how can a rocket launch be allowed? Is Cumberland restorable if a launch accident crashes or causes a forest fire there? Who will pay for that?
How will the evacuation zone be determined? How often will people be evacuated? For how long each time? Can evacuations be forced? Can people be arrested if they stay in an evacuation zone? How are people compensated for their inconvenience and expenses? Can evacuations occur at night? Does the EIS have a map showing the extents of the possible evacuation zones ever allowed at the spaceport? Will evacuations ever impact people living on Jekyll Island, Cumberland Island, Harriett's Bluff, Dover Bluff, Cabin Bluff? How often are launches scrubbed and rescheduled causing repeat evacuations for the same launch? How will we to know when we are in an evacuation area, when we have to leave, and when it is safe to return?
There seems to be hope that property values will rise throughout the County due to the potential of the spaceport. How will the County account for speculation when revaluing property before there is any proven long term benefit to property owners? If residential property prices are low now because of previous speculative development and continued low demand, will the County approve more subdivions before there are permanent jobs being created by the spaceport? Since the County thinks that the spaceport property is worth 7 times its currently taxed value, does that mean the County will increase the tax value for adjacent and nearby properties? Has the County used the current tax digest value, or an future inflated value, when considering if we can afford the spaceport?
Kings Bay Submarine Base
Will the US Navy allow rocket launches so close to its submarines and nuclear weapons - afterall, they forced restrictions on single engine aircraft operating from tiny St. Marys airport? Would a nuclear weapon explode if a piece of a rocket lands directly on it? What protection would there be for the Ballistic submarines in port? Will submarines have to get out of the way of launches? Since submarine comings and goings are secret, how can the US Navy give this information to a private spaceport operator? If launches are forced to a narrow trajectory corridor to avoid a danger zone over Kings Bay, won't that mean there will be fewer launches available from the spaceport? Has the US Navy approved of this and can they alone stop the spaceport if they disapprove?
The industrial use of water by the spaceport will come from new wells drilled on site. Should Camden be looking for industries that consume large mounts of water? How much water is used for rocket launches and engine tests for cooling and to reduce noise? Isn't the coastal Floridian Aquifer already under stress? Can Seismic or sound shock waves cause the toxic landfill to leak into the aquifer? Will salt water encroachment of the aquifer be accelerated by the spaceport? How will they collect and process the hundreds of thousands of gallons of contaminated water used during a launch or test? Hundreds of acres have been contaminated by rocket launches and accidents at Cape Canaveral. Why won't similar contamination happen here? Can fuel spills leak into the ground water?
Tourism, Traffic & Viewing Areas
Will access be restricted to Harriett's Bluff Road, Crooked River State Park, Cumberland Island, Dover Bluff and Jekyll Island on launch days? How will residents reach their homes? Won;t there be a risk of accidents from rubber-neckers on I-95 distracted by a launch as they drive? Where are the official designated viewing areas? How will traffic be controlled around the official viewing areas? Will fire and rescue vehicles be slowed down by increased launch viewing traffic? Will there be increased police costs due to traffic control? From experience, aside from gas stations and fast food places, exactly how do local businesses benefit from launch viewing traffic?
Does the FAA Environmental Impact Study allow the death, injury or displacement of some endangered species? What endangered species are presently located on the spaceport property? Will Cumberland Island and Jekyll Island turtle nesting populations be at risk? Are there any Bald Eagle or Osprey nests on the spaceport property? Is there a criminal penalty if a rocket launch accident harms a Northern Right whale? What is the criminal and civil penalty if spaceport activity causes the toxic waste dump to leak and poison the water? Who will be legally responsible? Are any birds incinerated by rocket launches at other spaceports? Will the migration paths of birds be affected? Will the Gilman rookery be affected?
Doesn't sound travel farther over water? Are they testing for that? Will wildlife be panicked by launch noise? Can the noise intensity from a launch harm wildlife? Will landings also be just as noisy? How do they collect the 200,000 gallons of water used in just a few seconds to dampen the sound? How far away will someone be able to hear the launch? How far away will someone be able to feel the launch? Will it wake me up if a launch is at 3AM? How many times a year will launch and test noise be heard? Will test noise be limited to daylight hours? What will be the decibils heard on Cumberland Island when a rocket passes overhead? Will it be as loud as the Blue Angels? I heard that water is used at launches is to keep the tremendous sound from melting the launch tower - is that true? SpaceX had the Texas legislature pass HB 1791 and SB 1636 whereby “noise arising from lawful space flight activities” would not be considered “unreasonable noise” under state law. Doesn't that mean people would just have to live with it? Would Georgia allow such a law in order to get SpaceX to Camden? Will they hear the spaceport NOISE in Atlanta?
What are the risk tolerances permitted in the FAA study for: death to humans; injury to humans; damage to private property; deaths or injury to wildlife; forest fire; pollutants entering coastal waters; toxic material entering the food chain; polluted water reaching the drinking water aquifer?
Flint Michigan has a water emergency that will cost hundreds of million of dollars to fix and will probably kill the Flint economy. All because someone who should have known better made a very simple mistake. What is Camden County's contingency plan for a similar event at the Spaceport?
What if Camden does not find a profitable operator for the spaceport? How much money exactly has Camden County committed already to the project? What is the total annual budget for staff salaries, expenses, promotion, travel, etc. related to developing the spaceport? Have other County needs been sacrificed or will we have our taxes increased to pay for it?
Harriett's Bluff Road
If the spaceport needs the same amount of fill dirt for soil stabilization as Boca Chica, it will take more than 10,000 loads (equal to 30 trips one way, 7 days a week, for a year) on the largest, legal triple-axle dump trucks. Is that safe for the people who live along Harriett's Bluff? How many additional concrete trucks would be expected? Won't heavy truck traffic on Harrietts Bluff lower property values? Does Camden County intend to improve Harriett's Bluff to handle all this heavy traffic? Will these trucks be forced to obey the speed limit? Will toxic waste be moved on trucks on Harriett's Bluff Road and I-95? Is money set aside to repair the road once heavy traffic is done? Will a new road be built to service the spaceport from exit 14 instead of Harrietts Bluff? Can we get a traffic light for our subdivision?
A long list of DRAFT QUESTIONS was produced by the Environmental Issues Subcommittee of the Spaceport Camden Steering Committee.
This important document shows that Camden is fortunate to have
private citizens who are invested in getting the answers.