WOODBINE, Ga. (Protect Cumberland Island PR) — The Cumberland Island National Seashore is a national treasure that is enjoyed by over 60,000 visitors per year. The Board of Commissioners of Camden County, Georgia is attempting to obtain a license for a commercial spaceport that will require rockets to be launched directly over the National Seashore. This ill-advised plan puts the Cumberland Island National Seashore and coastal marshlands in peril from exploding rockets, environmental contamination and other significant risks. The proposed spaceport would be the first and only spaceport in the United States where rockets are launched over a national park with active visitation and private homes.
Citizens who value the unique experience offered by the Cumberland Island National Seashore have been voicing their opposition to the proposed commercial spaceport for over three years. Camden County has ignored their concerns and pushed forward with the dangerous project.
Protect Cumberland Island is a grassroots campaign to create awareness of the threats that a proposed spaceport presents to the Cumberland Island National Seashore. Supporters include those visitors who frequent Cumberland Island as day hikers, campers, residents, and researchers, as well as individuals who have not yet experienced the unspoiled serenity of this national treasure. There are few people who understand that every rocket launched from the proposed spaceport will have to fly directly over the National Seashore.
Camden County has proposed to purchase a heavily contaminated property on the banks of the Satilla River from Union Carbide Corporation for the site of the proposed spaceport. The County has an option to purchase the environmentally contaminated property for $4,800,000. The property is subject to an Environmental Covenant with the Georgia Environmental Protection Division that requires close monitoring and remediation. The U.S. National Park Service and other concerned citizens have raised concerns over the impact that rocket launches from the property may have on the contamination, which includes munitions waste and unexploded ordnance left behind from former manufacturing activities.
The U.S. National Park Service has raised concerns as to the impact the proposed spaceport may have on federally protected migratory birds and endangered marine species. The Cumberland Island National Seashore is home to a number of federally protected migratory birds, shorebirds and endangered marine species, including Bald eagles, Piping plovers, Wood storks, Loggerhead sea turtles, Green sea turtles, Leatherback sea turtles, Kemp’s Ridley sea turtles, North Atlantic Right whales, Humpback whales and West Indian manatees. This campaign will emphasize the negative impacts that a commercial rocket launch facility will likely have on these important species. These negative impacts obviously include the prospect of a rocket exploding over or in close proximity to the National Seashore and permanently destroying these species’ habitats.
Camden County has justified the continued pursuit of the commercial spaceport by citing the jobs that they claim will be created. Concerned citizens have consistently challenged that assumption based upon the dismal economic development and job creation track records of other commercial spaceports around the United States. One of the goals of the Protect Cumberland Island campaign is to emphasize the positive economic impact of the Cumberland Island National Seashore so that those involved understand what is being put at risk.
“The proposed spaceport has always been a bad idea” says Jaqueline Eichhorn, a resident of Camden County and a supporter of the Protect Cumberland Island campaign. “A project this ill-advised can only exist inside an information vacuum, and we intend to change that with this campaign. The Cumberland Island National Seashore is an irreplaceable resource that belongs to all of the citizens of the United States. We do not intend to stand idly by and watch a local county government destroy it.”
“Georgians have a pretty impressive track record of conserving our coast” says Jim Renner, a resident of Glynn County, Georgia. “The battle to protect Cumberland Island was fought and won over 40 years ago, but the proposed spaceport reminds us that new threats to this special place are always emerging. The good news is that there are large numbers of citizens and organizations who appreciate wild places like the National Seashore, and the goal of our campaign is to get everyone involved in this fight.”
The Protect Cumberland Island education campaign is meant to amplify a clear and simple message: Cumberland Island National Seashore should not be put at risk from rockets.
For more information or to get involved, visit: http://www.protectcumberlandisland.org