The Georgia Supreme Court is set to make a decision within six months on a proposed spaceport in Camden County.
Camden County commissioners spent nearly a decade and more than 10 million dollars pursuing the Spaceport — a plan Camden residents voted to kill in a special referendum in March.
The state Supreme Court heard arguments in the case last week between the county’s lawyers who want the referendum declared invalid, and lawyers for the residents who pushed for the special election.
Located on the Georgia-Florida line, Camden County has worked since 2012 toward building and operating the 13th licensed U.S. launch site for private rockets. Supporters say it’s a chance for the county of 55,000 to join the commercial space race and also lure supporting industries and tourists.
Others say the proposed launch site, an industrial plot formerly used to manufacture pesticides and munitions, poses potential environmental and safety hazards.
Critics, including the National Park Service, say rockets exploding soon after launch could rain fiery debris onto Little Cumberland Island, which has about 40 private homes, and neighboring Cumberland Island, a federally protected wilderness visited by about 60,000 tourists each year.
In a related but separate lawsuit, the county is trying to force a private company to sell them the land the proposed Spaceport would be built on.
That company, Union Carbide, originally agreed to sell 4-thousand acres but now says the referendum nullifies past contracts with the county.