FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
WOODBINE, Ga. – December 20, 2019 - In two Camden County Press Releases dated December 17 and December 19, 2019, Camden County attempted to divert attention from the fact it has withheld from public scrutiny the “Tolling Letter“ it received from the FAA about repositioning and further delays in the spaceport project.
Additionally, there was no reference to the Tolling Letter in an interview published in the Tribune and Georgian newspaper on Thursday, December 19, 2019. The interview had been conducted on Tuesday with Camden County Administrator/Spaceport Project Lead Steve Howard and county spokesperson John Simpson to discuss recent, last-minute changes made to the county’s FAA application.
The FAA emailed the December 16, 2019, Tolling Letter to County Chairman James Starline with cc: to County Administrator Steve Howard. Kenneth Wong, Manager, FAA Licensing and Evaluation Division, signed the letter.
The Letter’s omission from interviews and county Press Releases is understandable since it contains the following issues that are not specific to rocket size.
“[…] please be advised there remain issues/concerns that have not yet been satisfactorily resolved:
“Fire - A launch accident may cause an uncontrollable fire on LCI or Big Cumberland Island. Access to LCI for firefighting and egress from LCI for evacuation are limited.
“U.S. National Security - The Department of Defense (DoD) has concerns that the proximity of launch operations to a vital U.S. Navy base might jeopardize foreign policy or national security interests of the United States.
“Environmental Assessment - Camden County has not completed the environmental review process.”
The letter closes with this statement: “Even with the proposed narrowing of your application scope, there is no assurance the FAA will make a favorable license determination in view of the issues raised above.”
Camden County refused multiple requests under the Georgia Open Records Act for the FAA letter citing an exemption that applies to real estate transactions, presumably referring to the purchase of the Union Carbide property. The FAA provided the copy reviewed by this writer.