Texas Noise and Georgia's HB734

State Representative Jason Spencer has introduced a Bill in the Georgia Legislature to protect spaceport operators from lawsuits due to Noise and other nuisances to be named later. Supporters claim that Noise really will not be a problem, but apparently SpaceX thinks it is; and they seek protection from the folks that live near the SpaceX McGregor Engine Test site and anywhere else they want to put a new spaceport. Noise and Vibration from engine tests and launches may be even more important concerns in Camden County since both can affect the Toxic Waste Landfill that is inside the LDZ.

"Part of What We Do Is, We Make A Lot of NOISE"

“Part of what we do is, we make a lot of noise and we are going to get a lot of attention. There is nothing more thrilling … than seeing a launch. It is a very powerful and inspiring experience,” Caryn Schenewerk, counsel and director of government affairs for SpaceX, Schenewerk said.

 

“We want to be somewhere where our activity is valued.” she added. The SpaceX official testified that what SpaceX is doing is a capital-intensive endeavor and before the company chooses a site it wants to ensure that it will face no last-minute legal issues that might prevent rocket launches.

 

“We don’t want the one-in-10,000 person who wants to stop our activities and tries to get, for example, an injunction against the noise it will create. We want to know that we come to a community and to a state that values that noise,” she said.

 

Getting the state to approve legislation that will prevent individuals from filing [lawsuits] against SpaceX because of noise issues is a key for the company, officials said. “We are not asking to be exempt from any liability if something should happen. … This is about noise. This is about someone being able to shut down our business over noise or that kind of activity,” Schenewerk said.

 

A citizen near the McGregor site filed a complaint against SpaceX because of the noise and the company was cited for “wrongful misconduct,” but it was dismissed since it was filed in the wrong county, Schenewerk said. She said the man did not pursue a civil injunction or engage the company in civil litigation; however, she added, it would have been costly if he had done so.

 

Schenewerk said the noise issue will be discussed with other sites under consideration.

Engine Tests Felt and Heard 40 Miles Away

Proponents of the spaceport present science to prove that no one will be harmed or bothered by Spaceport Camden Noise. In fact, people living less than 7 miles away are ridiculed for worrying about it. But in Texas, folks living in WACO, the nearest large city to McGregor feel, and hear the SpaceX engine testing.

 

“Oh, lots of noise,” said Marie Barr, who lives in the nearby town of Oglesby. “The windows rattle.”

 

"The sound was audible in Waco, Bruceville-Eddy, China Spring, and as far away as Rogers, which is 40 miles (64 kilometers) from McGregor."

Georgia's Law Puts No Limit on the Amount of Noise

Space technology is constantly changing so Georgia's new law will allow whatever noise might be generated if the FAA in Washington approves.

 

Section 41-4-2 of HB734 allows any changes to operations at the spaceport after one year to be grandfathered in and not violate the noise nuisance section. In fact, nuisances not named in the Bill also appear to be allowed. It appears that this section anticipates changes that allow for more frequent launches, larger rockets, more launch pads and more noise. For instance, increased numbers of rocket engine tests could be allowed without FAA approval.

 

 

Follow the McGregor Noise Discussion on REDDIT

"I live about 20 miles from the McGregor, TX SpaceX in southwest Waco/Hewitt. I hear (and feel) five seconds of rumbling a few times a week."

 

"To add, spacex does stage integration testing (where they put all 9 engines in the stage and fire em together). No one else does this, it is very loud and adds to the total testing." 

 

"Ha, SpaceX doesn't exactly run a 9 to 5. The McGregor rules about testing times escape me right now, but I believe they may be allowed to fire up to that time in the evening."

 

We are told that there will be 12 noise events a year at Spaceport Camden. But prior to each launch, all 9 engines of a SpaceX rocket are test fired. So it is really at least 24 noise events a year. 

Incentives Offered by McGregor

Since this section is linked to the MONEY topic on our site, here is the list of STANDARD FINANCIAL INCENTIVES offered by McGregor to lure new businesses. SpaceX may have gotten much more than this to bring its noise to Texas . . .

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Could Spaceport Camden end up being an engine test site like McGregor?

 

The Science might say one thing, but people who live near a real test site say another. Which are we to believe?

 

Noise travels farther over water. Do the studies take this into account considering that people live North, South and East of the Camden site?

 

If the Spaceport was here first, then those that move in later would be aware that they might be affected by the noise. It is similar to the 'informed consent' portion of HB734 for space tourists who want to take the risks. But people who already live in Camden are given no such choice. If noise turns out to be a problem, who will pay our costs so we can move away?

 

If our property values decline, who will make us whole?

 

Are we guaranteed that our property insurance costs will not go up since the spaceport operators have been relieved of risk?

 

Are the 30 or so jobs created by the Spaceport worth it to all the rest who do not benefit?

 

 

 

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