Capitalism in space? Almost immediately after the FAA last week issued a launch license for the proposed commercial spaceport in Camden, Georgia, a judge in the state courts issued an injunction blocking it.
The order and request for an interlocutory injunction was filed last week by Camden residents James Goodman and Paul Harris. Camden County Superior Court Judge Stephen G. Scarlett granted the restraining order on Tuesday and scheduled a hearing on the injunction for Jan. 5.
This order prevents the spaceport, being developed by the county itself, from purchasing any additional land for the project.
Meanwhile, a petition to force a referendum for or against the land purchase has obtained enough signatures. They needed 3,400 signatures — 10% of the registered voters of Camden county — and obtained 3,800. Those signatures are presently being verified by the county probate court, which has until mid-February to complete its work. If a special election is then called, it likely won’t occur before the middle of 2022.
It is perfectly legitimate for the citizens of the county to express their opposition to such a project. And if in a special election a majority disapprove, then it is perfectly correct for the county’s effort to be shut down.
This opposition however gives us a peek into the modern culture of America, hostile to innovation and new businesses, and willing to use the government aggressively to prevent it. Whether that hostility is felt by the majority in Camden County is at present unknown, though the success of the petition suggests it is. The special election will tell us.
I predict however that if the special election comes down in favor of the spaceport, the opposition will not accept that result, and will then move to find other legalities that they can enlist the government to use to block the project.
This project is beginning to remind me of Hawaii and the Thirty Meter Telescope, which has been effectively blocked from construction by what appears to be a very small number of radical protesters.
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