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A local California commission looks to restrict launches at Vandenberg

Though it has no authority over military launches at Vandenberg, a local California commission is now demanding some control and regulartory power because those launches are now all done by commercial companies.

The demands took place during a public meeting yesterday.

The biggest question centered on whether commercial space launches from Vandenberg could be considered federal activity as commissioners appeared irked at their limited role. They also again expressed disappointment that Vandenberg officials were on hand, but representatives of launch companies weren’t present.

In the end no decision was reached, and the discussion will resume in the next meeting in May. Based on the article at the link, the panel clearly wants more regulatory power to limit launches, but it doesn’t have it and the meeting didn’t give it an opening to grab that power, especially because there were no representatives from private companies to interrogate.

This situation will need watching, as meetings like this are almost always the first shot across the bow by leftist activists. They probe, looking for an opening to exert power. Even if they don’t have it, they use the opening to make trouble to slow things down.

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  • This may be a case of people doing their job. From the Overview section of the California Coastal Commission site (

    “The Coastal Act includes specific policies (see Division 20 of the Public Resources Code) that address issues such as shoreline public access and recreation, lower cost visitor accommodations, terrestrial and marine habitat protection, visual resources, landform alteration, agricultural lands, commercial fisheries, industrial uses, water quality, offshore oil and gas development, transportation, development design, power plants, ports, and public works. The policies of the Coastal Act constitute the statutory standards applied to planning and regulatory decisions made by the Commission and by local governments, pursuant to the Coastal Act.”

    If you look at a map of the Coastal Zone boundaries (, the Coastal Zone does include parts of Vandenberg AFB. Now, the Members of the Commission are likely not pure of heart in this matter, but they do not appear to be wrong.

  • Blair Ivey: Please don’t be naive. These government agencies were created by the left with initial good intentions (which is why everyone agreed), but nowadays the left is ALWAYS weaponizing them for the sake of power and control. I have no faith that the complainants here care one iota for the coastal beaches. Deep down they simply want to keep everyone else away so the beaches are theirs alone. And if it means shutting down an industry that is on the cutting edge of human exploration and is also creating billions in income and millions of new jobs, then all the better!

  • Jay

    Talking with my friend at Vandy, the Coastal Karen Commission has no leg to stand on in this issue. The road to that beach that was mentioned in the article is the split between the north base and south base. I am surprised the base has not taken that land in the name of security or eminent domain.
    Lots of developers have always wanted to get rid of the base, it is prime real estate.

  • Edward

    I can understand the need to limit launches in favor of beach access. Rockets can launch anywhere, but there are a severely limited number of beaches for people to enjoy. If it were the other way around, limited launch sites and beaches along most of every coast, then I’m sure this commission would be regulating beach access instead of launch access, just to make sure that medicines and other life-saving products could soon be made in space via all those excessive launches. Correct prioritization is important.

    Space is fairly useless, except for all those lives saved by early storm and hurricane warnings, the increased communications that may have helped to prevent wars and have helped in search and rescue, and the Earth observation that has helped greatly in post-disaster rescue and recovery, and the recalibrated thermal satellites that prove catastrophic anthropogenic global warming — er — climate change (get to the beach now, before global climate change raises the oceans and floods it forever). Space is definitely overstated, and the priority should definitely be on recreation over lives saved or even over the livelihoods worked that make going to the beach affordable.

    From the article:

    One proposed condition called for adding internet service at the beach …

    Well, that has got to be a high priority. How can anyone enjoy a beach without internet service? When has anyone ever been able to enjoy a beach without such distractions to the sights and sounds and the scents and sensations of sand and sea? (Sorry for the alliteration. Once it started I just couldn’t stop.)

    Geez. You would think this commission was in California or some locale with equally idiotic priorities.

  • pzatchok

    The environmentalists might find that all that beach area being a secure military instillation would be a help to the little animals who use it human free.
    Being a military post the base commander can send out solders to clean the beach whenever he wants. No one to ask for permission.
    Plus no hunting or fishing on the federal base.

    Its best left to the military so that defecating people and their animals can’t just walk all over the beach and leave offal all over the place.

    But i bet their real goal is to stop progress and they really do not care about the beaches and peoples access to them.

  • pawn

    They want to replace the military with a Home Owners Association,

    1) All exposed structural elements will be painted with the approved “view friendly” colors

    2) No LOX deliveries outside of normal business hours


  • Keith Glass

    Crying shame, if staging for a future launch **accidentally** happened to crash-land on the May meeting. Maybe with 10-15% of the fuel load still on board. . .. (evil grin)

  • Cloudy

    Actually, there are very few places on the earth where economical, routine and safe orbital launches can take place. The place you launch from very much matters. As for the uses of space, virtually the whole world economy would collapse without it. Satellite communication is needed. Earth observation is needed. The other uses are too diverse to count. Space is only a luxury in the same sense that planes and trains are. If you don’t like modern industry in general, consider that the global population is too large to be supported without it. There is no also significant global environmental damage to spaceflight. It does keep people out of limited number of areas that they might otherwise build up, but this is not a drawback from and environmental perspective.

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