Space Coast Progressive Alliance

The Future of the American Experiment is in Your Hands
Friday, 14 February 2014 06:50

Deny Shiloh Proposal

Written by  Linda Behret, Turtle Coast Sierra Club

SHILOH LAUNCH PROPOSAL SHOULD BE DENIED

Plenty of space for Shiloh within existing boundaries of NASA's Kennedy Space Center, or at Patrick Air Force Base, without harmful intrusions into world class Merritt Island National Refuge and Mosquito Lagoon. Historically and environmentally rich areas should not be sacrificed for this proposed private, commercial space launch, which will surely want to expand even further, beyond this initial proposal. See background info below.

SEND PUBLIC COMMENTS NOW!

COMMENTS MUST BE RECEIVED BY February 21, 2014. 
Suggested regular letter mail deadline: Tues. Feb. 18
Suggested email deadline: Thurs. Feb. 20

SEND EMAIL TO: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

SEND LETTERS TO:
Ms Stacey M Zee, Environmental Protections Specialist
Federal Aviation Administration,
Shiloh Launch Complex EIS
℅ Cardon TEC Inc.
2400 Old Ivy Rd--Ste 300
Charlottesville, VA 22903

The more comments that are submitted against the proposed launch site, the better our chances that it won't happen, so please write!  All written comments will become part of the administrative record associated with this proposed action.  Individual citizens may request that their name and/or home address be withheld from public disclosure, which will be honored to the extent allowable by law. -- Linda Behret

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BACKGROUND + LINKS

Florida Wildlife Federation opposes Shiloh Launch Complex

EXCERPT

Florida Wildlife Federation has joined an unprecedented coalition of national, state, and local conservation organizations to voice opposition to the proposed Shiloh Launch Complex within Merritt Island National Wildlife Refuge.

Space Florida is seeking a Launch Site Operator License to shoot heavy lift commercial rockets from within a pristine area of Merritt Island National Wildlife Refuge. Unlike rockets which currently launch from Cape Canaveral and go out over the Atlantic, the Shiloh Launch Complex would launch rockets over the pristine waters of Mosquito Lagoon within Canaveral National Seashore.

"The proposed Shiloh launch site is the wrong site”, said Manley Fuller, President of the Florida Wildlife Federation. “Shiloh lies in Merritt Island National Wildlife Refuge known for its superlative fish and wildlife habitat. It is known across the country for outstanding outdoor recreation including salt water fishing, wildlife observation and hunting for the American public and international visitors. Industrialization of the Refuge is counter to its mission and there are other suitable sites off this valuable conservation and recreation area. Our issue is not with the spaceport but with this location," said Fuller.

Space Florida has asked NASA to release 200 acres within the Merritt Island National Wildlife Refuge to construct the Shiloh Launch Complex. It plans to launch up to 24 launches per year from two proposed launch pads. An unknown amount of acreage around the launch facility would be closed for security purposes which would have significant impacts on hunting, fishing, boating, and wildlife viewing opportunities that are currently enjoyed within the Refuge and adjoining Canaveral National Seashore.

Space Florida has applied to the FAA for a license to operate the facility. An Environmental Impact Statement will be prepared for the review....

The Indian River Lagoon, Mosquito Lagoon, Canaveral National Seashore and Merritt Island National Wildlife Refuge are the most pristine lands and waters remaining on Florida's east coast. It is habitat for migratory birds and endangered species and its waters are used by a large number of anglers, hunters, bird watchers, manatee watchers, paddlers and other wildlife and outdoor enthusiasts who consider the area a prime destination. The economic benefit from this has been measured in the billions of dollars.

The Mosquito Lagoon is one of Florida's premier saltwater fishing areas. Anglers from all over the world come to fly fish for huge redfish in the clear shallow waters of the Lagoon. The refuge has issued permits for 71 fishing guides in the Refuge.

MORE: click here or:

http://www.fwfonline.org/News-and-Pressroom/Florida-Wildlife-Federation-Opposes-Shiloh-Launch-Complex;-urges-those-who-care-about-the-Indian-River-Lagoon-to-attend-hearings-next-week..aspx#.Uv4ccyi_2Jd

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CCA Florida has produced common sense rationale for denying Shiloh's proposal

EXCERPT

The current assessment is poorly designed and absurd. All of the proposed sites are in the same area – Shiloh. The most obvious alternative locations, the unused sites in the Kennedy Space Center and the Canaveral Air Force Base in Brevard County, are not even included! At previous hearings Space Florida assured many speakers that the environmental analysis would include a number of different options including the idle sites in Brevard County. However, throughout the process Space Florida has remained tightly focused on the Shiloh area in the Merritt Island NWR.

The development of the Shiloh site seems questionable in light of the tremendous impact the proposed launch complex would have – construction and post-development traffic and their attendant noise, smoke and heat from the launches, and storm water runoff, among them. What of access by the public to nearby lands and waters, including the Mosquito Lagoon and the Intracoastal Waterway? This heavily travelled waterway would be closed before, during and after launches.

The Federal Register Notice states that Space Florida “proposes to construct and operate a commercial space launch site (The Shiloh Launch Complex) and two offsite operations support areas. The Shiloh Launch Complex would include two vertical launch facilities that could accommodate up to 24 launches per year, as well as up to 24 static fire engine tests or wet dress rehearsals per year. The launch vehicles would include liquid fueled, medium to heavy-lift class orbital and suborbital vehicles. In addition to the 24 launches per year, the first stage of the launch vehicle could return to and land at the Shiloh Launch Complex.”

Such impacts and the aesthetic degradation will lead to declining visits by the anglers, birders and other outdoor enthusiasts, which could then result in the loss of existing jobs. Why not avoid all of this and find a way to use the existing facilities at Kennedy Space Center?

MORE: click here or:

http://www.ccaflorida.org/home/287-grassroots-alert-cca-florida-strongly-opposes-the-use-of-merritt-island-national-wildlife-refuge-and-mosquito-lagoon-area-for-private-commercial-space-launch-site

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Thanks to Linda Behret, Turtle Coast Sierra Club, with contributions by Team SCPA

 

Last modified on Friday, 14 February 2014 07:14
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