Feeds

Jeff Bezos builds space ports, not relationships

Texan community in collective huff

Build a business case: developing custom apps

Locals in Van Horn, West Texas, have been unsettled by the arrival in Culberson County of Blue Origin, the space tourism company owned by Amazon-founder Jeff Bezos.

According to the Wall Street Journal, the billionaire started buying up land in the area three years ago so he could build the first commercial space port. Construction work at the site began in May this year. Locals say they have seen up to 40 trucks in neighbouring Hudspeth County, setting up power lines to the property.

However, he has not made a particular effort to be a friendly neighbour, a terrible social faux pas in the ever-polite south.

The paper outlines how ranch owners were repeatedly approached by lawyers acting for firms called James Cook LP, Jolliet Holdings, Coronado Ventures, and Cabot Enterprises, all businesses using the same forwarding address, care of Zefram* LLC.

After making offers the ranch owners couldn't refuse, Bezos acquired the land deeds to several adjoining farms with a total land area of almost 300,000 acres. Former ranch owner Ronald Stasny told the paper that the offers increased until they were too rich to turn down, although he demurred when asked exactly what he had been paid for his land, explaining that he had signed a confidentiality agreement.

However, since buying up the land, Bezos has gone silent, rebuffing all attempts at contact from the locals, and requesting confidentiality agreements be signed by those with whom he does business.

One neighbour who had a property-line dispute with Bezos says he was impossible to contact. Another, who wanted to discuss a local disagreement about water rights with Bezos, told the paper: "You've got to talk to three colonels and generals and all that stuff [to get to him]".

The locals are frustrated because they want to use Bezos' presence in the area to drum up interest in their very small (under 3,000 people) town. But Bezos, renowned for being publicity shy, was probably attracted to the area precisely because it is so small that it has no cinema and failed to attract a prison.

The company has already come under fire from environmentalists who argue that the development of the space port will have an unacceptable impact on local wildlife.

Some lizards and birds could be disturbed by the construction project, and an environmental impact assessment warns that "small numbers of less-mobile, burrow-dwelling animals (gophers, chipmunks) inhabiting the construction area could be displaced by construction activity or killed if burrows are filled, crushed, or paved".

*Yes, very geeky, isn't it? But as the editor said to this reporter: "Well, you recognised the name, didn't you?". ®

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops

More from The Register

next story
Boffins attempt to prove the UNIVERSE IS JUST A HOLOGRAM
Is this the real life? Is this just fantasy?
Our LOHAN spaceplane ballocket Kickstarter climbs through £8000
Through 25 per cent but more is needed: Get your UNIQUE rewards!
China building SUPERSONIC SUBMARINE that travels in a BUBBLE
Shanghai to San Fran in two hours would be a trick, though
LOHAN tunes into ultra long range radio
And verily, Vultures shall speak status unto distant receivers
SpaceX prototype rocket EXPLODES over Texas. 'Tricky' biz, says Elon Musk
No injuries or near injuries. Flight stayed in designated area
Galileo, Galileo! Galileo, Galileo! Galileo fit to go. Magnifico
I'm just a poor boy, nobody loves me. But at least I can find my way with ESA GPS by 2017
EOS, Lockheed to track space junk from Oz
WA facility gets laser-eyes out of the fog
prev story

Whitepapers

Top 10 endpoint backup mistakes
Avoid the ten endpoint backup mistakes to ensure that your critical corporate data is protected and end user productivity is improved.
Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Backing up distributed data
Eliminating the redundant use of bandwidth and storage capacity and application consolidation in the modern data center.
The essential guide to IT transformation
ServiceNow discusses three IT transformations that can help CIOs automate IT services to transform IT and the enterprise
Next gen security for virtualised datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.