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Spaceport Camden: Open Letter to the Public

Spaceport Camden: Open Letter to the public

The following is an open letter to the public and reflects the views of only the author and not those of AllOnGeorgia. Any citizen may submit an open letter or an article for publishing.

I can assure you that you have nothing more important to do today than to read this spaceport story in the Atlantic:

The FAA is complicit in its failure to protect the people of Boca Chica. What’s happened is grotesque, outrageous, and sad. And it was predictable. Elon Musk explained, “We’ve got a lot of land with nobody around, so if it blows up, it’s cool.” Well, people are inconveniently around, so they must be removed! SpaceX doesn’t even have an operator’s license for Boca Chica. The FAA is similarly complicit regarding Spaceport Camden. Yes! It can happen here.

Camden County citizens and businesses have far more to lose with the certain-to-come cost of federal lawsuits, damage to our existing tourism base, the continuation of Georgia government agencies’ lack of confidence in Camden’s leadership, and collateral damage to legitimate development opportunities.

I once thought that Jimmy Starline and Steve Howard must be holding back on a secret agreement they’d negotiated with a substantive, deep-pocketed rocket company like SpaceX or ULA. That was the only legitimate explanation for continuing the apparent waste of millions. But their last-minute reset in an attempt to stay alive on the 178th day of the 180-day FAA review period undeniably confirmed that they have nothing benefiting the public’s interest that justifies spending even one dollar more.

I had a meeting last night in Saint Marys with a few folks who asked why the Tribune was silent on Spaceport waste far exceeding what we lost through PSA mismanagement. I could only tell them that opponents have been ineffective in getting the Tribune to take us seriously.

There can be no Camden spaceport license “victory” that will offset what we’ve already lost. The FAA’s December 16, 2019 letter unambiguously showed that we’d paid millions to so-called experts for “advice” the FAA couldn’t accept or that remained incomplete. Additionally, Spaceport Camden opponents have received hundreds of pages of emails through Freedom of Information Act requests proving that Camden officials have known since 2017 that their quest is very troubled at the FAA. Internal FAA emails discussed the lack of cooperation and missing information from Camden County.

We’ve found admissions by Camden that they’ve created misleading information for “convenience.” Our elected officials and their spaceport project manager have ignored facts that were obvious to spaceport skeptics in 2016. We’re now paying multiple public relations firms and lobbyists to keep the project on life support. It’s no wonder that a defective product requires an increasingly expensive defense. We’d expect the Tribune & Georgian to explain why we should pay for it.

Many of us remember when newspapers felt it was their responsibility to call out abuses by elected officials. I welcome the opportunity at your convenience to show you new proof that Spaceport Camden has struggled for years because a viable, commercial spaceport cannot coexist with Cumberland Island National Seashore, Kings Bay, and regulations protecting public safety. If nothing else stood in its way, Spaceport Camden would require limitless taxpayer-funded subsidies. If providing truth to its readers on important matters is no longer considered a newspaper standard, then the internet has indeed won.

Thousands of Camden citizens will not allow what’s happened at Boca Chica to happen here. Can we count on the Tribune & Georgian to join us?


Steve Weinkle

1 Comment

1 Comment

  1. Ben Goff

    February 15, 2020 at 12:02 pm

    Straight forward and to the point!

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