Jeanne Seaver has over 32 years’ experience as a legal administrator and comptroller, a former employee of Attorney F. Lee Bailey, and in her 18th year as an Associate with a private equity company in the aerospace industry. Seaver lives in Savannah, GA. The column is the opinion of the author and not those of AllOnGeorgia.
In an article written by Mary Landers in the Savannah Morning News on March 16th regarding the Draft Environmental Impact Statement for Spaceport Camden, Athens resident, Kevin Lang, stated that the Federal Aviation Administration was “getting cute” by considering residents and vacation homeowners “authorized persons” inside the closure areas during future launches at the site. Working in the aviation industry, I can attest that the FAA never gets “cute” with safety.
In fact, the FAA has licensed nearly 300 commercial space flights without a single injury to the uninvolved public. The FAA’s safety criteria for Spaceport Camden is so rigorous, that if even one casualty is expected in more than 500 years of launches at the site, the FAA will not issue Camden County a license. So, it is abundantly clear the FAA is not getting “cute” with safety as the quote implies.
What I believe is more likely the case, is that spaceport opponents are frustrated that their attacks against the project have largely been proven false. Vacation homeowners on Little Cumberland Island have been lobbying the Georgia General Assembly for several years that Spaceport Camden should be rejected because anything less than unfettered access to their cottages would result in an unconstitutional taking under Georgia law. Now that the FAA has rendered that argument moot, so they are attacking the FAA’s credibility instead.
Spaceport Camden offers incredible economic opportunities to coastal Georgia and vacation homeowners will continue to have access to their property. That’s a win-win. There’s no doubt opponents from Atlanta, Athens and other parts of the country will continue to try to derail this project. But those of us who live and work in coastal Georgia do not think it is “cute” that a few part-time visitors want to dictate our full-time economic future.