Group Launches Petition Opposing SpaceX Launch Facility in South Texas

Artist's conception of the proposed SpaceX commercial launch facility near Brownsville, Texas.
Artist’s conception of the proposed SpaceX commercial launch facility near Brownsville, Texas.

A group has started a petition urging SpaceX to find another place to launch its Falcon rockets other than Boca Chica Beach near Brownsville, Texas.

To: Elon Musk, CEO of Space Exploration Technologies (Space X)

This south Texas site which you have selected for your rocket launch facility is surrounded by federally protected land, home to threatened and endangered species. It borders the ecologically essential South Bay of the Laguna Madre, the nation’s only hypersaline lagoon, a nursery for shrimp and coastal fish.

Please choose another location for your rocket launch site.

Read the full petition.

Over on the El Rrun Rrun blog, Juan Montoya says that it’s not just environmental concerns that should block SpaceX from building a launch facility near the beach. He also accuses local officials of over hyping the number of jobs created and the resulting economic benefits while offering too much in subsidies to SpaceX.

Remember when the Brownsville Economic Development Council through its mouthpieces Gilbert Salinas and Jason Hilts sang the praises of SpaceX coming to a pristine beach near you? They held out the economic development carrot of 600 jobs at $50,000 annual salary apiece….

But now, after reading the SpaceX Environmental Impact Statement, we learn that there will not be 600 jobs after all. In fact, if Musk gets enough “incentives” from Texas, Cameron County and the BEDC ($15 million so far) that will compete with the incentives from Florida, Puerto Rico and Georgia, there will be a total of 30 jobs to start in 2014 and will reach a peak of 150 in 2022. This includes permanent SpaceX employees and contractors. That’s quite a comedown from 600, isn’t it Gilbert and Jason?

And for that they are asking the public to restrict its access to Boca Chica Beach at least 12 – if not more time to allow for the inevitable launch delays – halt ship traffic at the Port of Brownsville and the Intercoastal Waterway, and expose the beach and its habitat and species to a monthly blast of soot and noise.