Four Orgs Sue FAA Over Rocket Launch Site Near National Seashore

The National Parks Conservation Association, One Hundred Miles, Little Cumberland Island Hoes Inc., and Caretta Foundation Inc. filed a complaint against the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), Daniel Murray, and James Repcheck alleging the defendants are in violation of the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA), FAA regulation Part 420, section 4(f) of the Department of Transportation Act, Cumberland Island National Seashore Enabling Legislation, and the National Historic Preservation Act.

The complaint alleges that the FAA issued a launch site operator license for Spaceport Camden, a proposed commercial spaceport that would launch rockets directly over populated areas and a national seashore. The FAA’s issuance of this license is contrary to the agency’s regulations for licensing launch sites, per the plaintiffs.

According to the complaint, the agency failed to evaluate the project as required by the NEPA; when the county changed the nature of the project to accommodate smaller rockets, said to be more more failure-prone, the FAA failed to update its review. The complaint also alleges that Camden County falsified a non-existent rocket for its review revision so that its proposed project could meet FAA agency regulations.

“And even then, the FAA violated the plain language of its own regulations in issuing the License,” the complaint said.

The plaintiffs seek the following for relief: a declaratory judgment that the FAA’s action was in violation of the aforementioned laws, an award of costs incurred, injunctive relief, and a vacation and set aside of an FAA Launch Site, Record of Decision, Department of Transportation Act Section 4(f) and National Historic Preservation Act Section 106.

The plaintiffs are represented by in-house counsel.