How to Comment Effectively on the Proposed Spaceport

How to Comment Effectively on the Proposed Spaceport

April 9, 2018  |  Ear to the Sand

It is perfectly OK to raise an issue about the Draft EIS with no support for your arguments. The burden of proof is on the FAA – not you. The FAA must respond in the Final EIS to your comments. That said, if you have evidence or facts – even better. Please don’t let your “lack of expertise” prevent you from trying to comment on the environmental impact concerns you have. With that in mind, here are a few tips:

1. Do not assume that someone else will comment on the issue that concerns you. The more comments the FAA receives on a topic, the more attention to your comment will receive.

2. Objectively evaluate the project and be VERY specific. Generalities are easily dismissed.

3. Separate your concerns into clearly identifiable paragraphs or headings and keep a tight focus on each separate issue. Don’t mix topics.

4. Avoid saying “I support the spaceport, but…” – just list your concerns or your letter may be classified as a letter of support instead of addressing your concerns.

    1. 5. Consider ways to avoid impacts or enforceable ways to reduce the severity of impacts. Quantify your objections whenever possible. If a potential significant impact is not adequately identified; or if no mitigation is proposed for a potentially significant impact; or if the mitigation proposed is not sufficient, appropriate or feasible, then: a. Identify the specific impact in question;
    2. b. Explain why you believe the impact would occur;
    3. c. Explain why you believe the effect would be significant; and, if applicable,
    4. d. Explain what additional mitigation measure(s) or changes in proposed mitigations or to the project you would recommend.
    5. e. Explain why you would recommend any changes and support your recommendations.
    6. f. Whenever possible, present facts or expert opinions. If not, provide personal experience or your observations. Don’t just complain.
    7. 6. Include suggestions for making it better or offer specific alternatives and describe how they meet the requirements of the project. Your goal should be to write something that causes them to respond in a future document based on the evidence you have given.
    8. 7. Point out any inconsistencies in the document or the data. a. Compare Draft EIS statements to facts you know.
    9. b. Point out outdated information or errors in logic.
    10. c. Focus on the sufficiency (or lack thereof) of the EIS in identifying and analyzing the possible impacts of the project on the environment and public health and safety.
    11. 8. Write a comment that includes a valid name and address. Submit it before the deadline. KEEP A COPY OF YOUR COMMENTS.
    12. 9. Submit additional comments if you think of something later but submit them before the deadline.

5 Reasons Why You Should Comment on the Environmental Impact Study (EIS) for the Spaceport

1. The public process allows you participate in a significant way in the once in a lifetime opportunity of designing a spaceport. You can have a significant impact. Your input can help shape this project in a positive way or stop it if it is bad for Camden County.

2. Even if you are not especially worried about this project, then consider that it may still be built in ways that negatively affect you, your home, your kids, your neighborhood, your financial security, Camden County, or our State. The only way to make the FAA aware of your individual, immediate concerns is to send in comments during this period.

3. Your comments to the FAA are your opportunity to address any concerns related to safety, scenic, aesthetic, historic and environmental issues.

4. If you don’t think your comments will have any effect, then consider that the only comments that will not to have any impact are the ones you don’t write. Those comments you do write must be considered and addressed by the FAA.

5. If you do not comment, you forgo many of your rights to any recourse in the future.

* IMPORTANT: If you make reference to ANY document in your EIS comments (a letter or notice you received, a law in your city, a copy of a presentation you saw – even if it was provided by the FAA, etc.) you should include a full copy as part of your EIS comments. Think of your comments as testimony in a case. Any documents you are submitting in the future might be considered evidence. Do NOT assume the FAA has a copy of any document you are referencing.

* IMPORTANT: Keep a copy of your comments. Send a copy to your County Commissioner as well so they have a record of what the citizens are asking for or are concerned about relating to the spaceport.

Disclaimer: The following is intended to serve as a guide and is not intended to be legal advice. Please seek professional help from a lawyer if you have legal questions or concerns.

Email your comments to:

FAACamdenSpaceportEIS@ Leidos.com.

Mail your comments to:

Ms. Stacey M. Zee, Spaceport Camden EIS c/o Leidos 20201 Century Boulevard, Suite 105 Germantown, MD 20874

Email a copy to your Commissioner: district#@co.camden.ga.us substitute # with 1,2,3,4 or 5 Email a copy of your Comments to: steve.spaceportfacts@gmail.com

 —Steve Weinkle



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