FAA Plans Spaceport Camden Environmental Impact Statement, Public Meeting

faa_logoCamden Spaceport Environmental Impact Statement
Source: Federal Aviation Administration

The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) Office of Commercial Space Transportation is preparing an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) for analyzing the environmental impacts of a proposed commercial space launch site (known as Spaceport Camden) in Camden County, Georgia. The Camden County, Georgia Board of Commissioners (the County) proposes to develop a launch site for the integration, test, and launch of vertical launch vehicles. Under the Proposed Action analyzed in the EIS, the County would construct and operate Spaceport Camden, a commercial space launch site consisting of a vertical launch site, a landing zone, a control center complex, and another facility that would include provisions for visitors and viewing launches. The County plans to offer the site for up to 12 vertical launches and up to 12 landings of associated launch vehicle first-stages per year. Other activities considered under the Proposed Action include recovering spent stages at sea that may be barged back to the site for rehabilitation and reuse; 12 static fire engine tests; and up to 12 wet dress rehearsals per year.

The County will be required to obtain a Launch Site Operator License from the FAA for the operation of the proposed Spaceport Camden. The FAA is the lead Federal agency for preparing the EIS for analyzing the environmental impacts of the proposal. The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) and the National Park Service (NPS) are cooperating agencies. The EIS will evaluate the potential environmental impacts of the proposal, including construction of launch site infrastructure, launch operations, offsite communication, control, and launch facilities, and provisions for visitors and viewing launches. The EIS will evaluate the Proposed Action along with the No Action Alternative, and other reasonable alternatives that may be identified during the scoping process.

Notice of Intent

The FAA published a Notice of Intent (NOI) to prepare an EIS, open a public scoping period, and conduct a public scoping meeting in the Federal Register on November 6, 2015. The NOI is available for download here. The NOI is the FAA’s official announcement that EIS will be prepared for the County’s proposal, and starts the scoping period during which the public is encouraged to provide comments as discussed in the following section. The NOI includes the current scope of the EIS.

Scoping

The FAA invites interested agencies, organizations, Native American tribes, and members of the public to submit comments or suggestions to assist in identifying significant environmental issues and in determining the appropriate scope of the EIS. Your comments will help the FAA develop a stronger and more thorough analysis. Comments that address the questions below provide the most useful feedback to the FAA. The information you provide will assist in ensuring the EIS is accurate and complete.

As you begin to think about the comments you would like to provide to the FAA, please consider the following questions:

  • What are your environmental issues of concern?
  • Are there certain topics that should be addressed or helpful sources of information that should be considered?
  • What types of analyses and/or methodologies do you recommend?
  • Are there ways to avoid or reduce resource impacts that should be identified in the EIS?

Public Scoping Meeting

To help determine the scope of the EIS, the FAA will host a public scoping meeting at the following date, time, and location:

Monday, December 7, 2015
5:00 PM to 8:00 PM
Camden County Public Service Authority Recreation Center
Community Room
1050 Wildcat Drive
Kingsland, Georgia 31548

The meeting format will include an open-house workshop from 5:00 PM to 6:00 PM. During the open house, there will be a table with comment forms for writing your comments, or you may speak to the stenographer who will record your comments. The FAA will provide an overview of the environmental process from 6:00 PM to 6:15 PM, followed by a public comment period from 6:15 PM to 8:00 PM. During the public comment period, members of the public may provide up to a 2-minute statement. The FAA will transcribe oral comments. After the scoping period closes, a summary of the scoping meeting and transcript from the meeting will be posted to this website.

Contact Information

Comments, statements, questions, and requests to be added to the project mailing list can be sent by email to FAACamdenSpaceportEIS@Leidos.com. They also may be mailed to: Ms. Stacey M. Zee, FAA Environmental Specialist, Spaceport Camden County EIS, c/o Leidos, 20201 Century Boulevard, Suite 105, Germantown, MD 20874. In all communications, please include your first name, last name, email address, and phone number.

All comments received during the scoping period, whether provided in writing or orally, will be given equal weight and will be taken into consideration in the preparation of the Draft EIS.

The FAA requests that comments be provided no later than January 4, 2016 to ensure they are considered during preparation of the Draft EIS.

Next Steps and the Draft EIS

The FAA will review all comments received from members of the public, government agencies, and interest groups. Together, the FAA and cooperating agencies will use the scoping comments to identify key environmental topics, additional alternatives, or revisions to the proposed alternative to address in the Draft EIS.

When completed, the Draft EIS will be made available for public review and comment (typically for 45 days). The FAA will notify the public of the availability of the Draft EIS through a Federal Register notice, as well by email or mail for those people who provided their contact information to the FAA. Electronic copies of the Draft EIS will be available to download from the FAA’s website. Copies of the Draft EIS will be available in local public libraries. The FAA will hold a public meeting during the Draft EIS review and comment period; the meeting will be similar to the scoping meeting in format and will present the findings of the Draft EIS and allow you to provide oral and written comments on the Draft EIS.

This webpage provides information on the EIS and how to get involved in the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) process. Additional information will be added to this website as the project progresses.