Spaceport Camden gets the boot from voters

Spaceport Camden took a significant setback in a referendum as Camden County voters overwhelmingly voted against a deal to purchase land for the project. So now the Board of Commission will have to find a new way to get the spaceport built.

On March 8, the county held a special referendum in which 72% voted to stop a land purchase between the county and Union Carbide. This purchase would have made up a portion of the land needed to build Spaceport Camden, which received its launch site operator license a few months ago.

Spaceport Camden has been a hotly debated topic of local politics for some time now. The county wished to get a slice of the growing space launch market and bring more jobs to the county, but residents were against the possible environmental and safety concerns linked with the spaceport.

Camden County to fight referendum legality

About 10,000 residents signed a petition to put the purchase up to a referendum. The county fought its legality, but a county judge allowed the referendum to go through. Camden County is appealing the decision hoping that Georgia’s supreme court will give them an answer they like instead of siding with what its residents wish.

There’s been some talk that the Board of Commissioners could give the local spaceport authority the ability to purchase the land, bypassing the referendum. However, State Representative Steven Sainz, who helped write the legislation to make the authority, came out against this move as “it would be out of the intention of the legislation that it was created in.”

Not the first hotly contested spaceport project

Spaceport Camden joins SpaceX’s Starbase as they attempt to fight local pushback in launching rockets in its backyard. The difference between Starbase and Spaceport Camden is that Camden has already gone through the environmental review process and received its license from the FAA. SpaceX is still waiting on this step, which has been repeatedly delayed.

How this scenario will play out will be interesting to watch as the county continues to fight its residents on what could be the future of Southeast Georgia.

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