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Fish & Wildlife documents now reveal its objections to SpaceX Boca Chica facility

We’re here to help you! Documents obtained by CNBC under a Freedom of Information request have revealed the specific objections of Fish & Wildlife that has helped delay the approval of the FAA’s environment reassessment of SpaceX’s Boca Chica facility for Starship launches.

SpaceX must take steps to track and mitigate its impact on endangered species and their habitat in order to gain approvals for testing and commercial launches of its Starship Super Heavy lift-launch vehicle in Boca Chica, Texas, according to documents from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service obtained by CNBC.

The documents, released by the federal agency in response to a Freedom of Information Act request, show that recent declines in an endangered bird species, the piping plover, have already been correlated with SpaceX activity at the South Texas facility.

The documents also reveal that SpaceX is, for now at least, reducing the amount of energy it plans to generate at a utility-sized natural gas power plant on the 47.4-acre launch site there.

According to a lawyer from the radical environmentalist organization the Center for Biological Diversity who was interviewed for the article, Fish & Wildlife’s demands are not tremendously restrictive, and might actually allow the project to go forward, since they appear to only require SpaceX to “monitor affected animal populations carefully, limit construction and launch activity to specific seasons or times of day and night, and use shuttles to reduce vehicle traffic of workers on location.”

I see it differently. I think Fish & Wildlife bureaucrats are struggling to come up with reasons to block SpaceX. They know that decades of data in Florida prove that rocket launches have no negative impact on wildlife. To claim such a thing in Texas is thus not justified. They are trying to do it anyway.

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10 comments

  • sippin_bourbon

    ” I think Fish & Wildlife bureaucrats are struggling to come up with reasons to block SpaceX.”

    Or, alternatively, were pressured to come up with the reasons.

    A subtle but important difference.

    Just my normal, cynical, opinion, of course.

  • Tom Billings

    From the CNBC article, it seems as if the F&W people knew their political liabilities to the WH, which were to *delay* Starship.

    The CBD outlier is an NGO that interacts with regulatory agencies to get their funding through donations by such statements as :

    “He said, “It seems the Fish and Wildlife Service is bending over backwards to figure out a way to permit more of what has been a very detrimental use of the Boca Chica site as far as impacts to wildlife go.”

    Margolis said FWS did not ask for well-defined or large commitments by SpaceX where conservation is concerned. He pointed to FWS requiring SpaceX to donate a meager $5,000 to an ocelot conservation group per year.”

    Basically, they are the people whose job is to paint the F&W people as being “moderate”, for being willing to allow industrial society to act at all, in allowing SpaceX to proceed, however slowly. The net package is the ability to:

    1.) Serve the WH, in weakening Musk, who still will not force the WH UAW allies onto his TESLA employees.

    2.) Serve the Florida politicians who cling to SLS as a way to buy votes on the “Space Coast”, including Administrator Nelson himself, however silently.

    3.) Make an increasingly Republican Texas State Delegation in Congress, and State government in Austin, divert their political capital to defending SpaceX.

    4.) Bob’s statement that: “They know that decades of data in Florida prove that rocket launches have no negative impact on wildlife. To claim such a thing in Texas is thus not justified. They are trying to do it anyway.” is an insight without its conclusion.

    The CBD and others intend to demonstrate their political clout. If they can restrain SpaceX over something as trivial as 400+ acres of habitat for the Piping Plover, when that Plover species stretches along the coast from Mexico to North Carolina, then they can demonstrate that they are someone that companies want to make sure about their sympathies, by donating. The F&W people value groups like the CBD, because it is their extreme statements as public radicals that keeps the F&W people’s own radical ideology under a shade, and thus politically acceptable.

  • Col Beausabre

    “show that recent declines in an endangered bird species, the piping plover, have already been correlated with SpaceX activity at the South Texas facility.”

    My first day of Statistics in grad school, the professor wrote this in red on the blackboard and left it up for the entire semester

    CORRELATION DOES NOT MEAN CAUSATION

    He pointed out that the increase in the number of golf courses in post-World War 2 America correlated well with the increase in divorces.

    So was it a bunch of golf widows who got fed up with the absence of their husbands?

    Or was it that an increased standard of living caused both results?

    1) Increased prosperity allowed a previous upper class recreation to become available to the middle class

    2) Increased prosperity made more women decide that they could live without a husband

    The Left loves abusing statistics to “prove” their arguments. It’s their whole argument that disparate results prove racism.

  • George C.

    The Pipimg Plover is a big deal on Northeast beaches too. Limitations on beach access during nesting, no dogs etc. They are nervous birds, and have many predators.

    I was worried when Musk purchased Twitter. Distraction. But now I read scuttlebutt that he is looking to charge for tweets. Genius. How many tweets to refuel a Starship?

    Hmm. How about charging $1 for each 100 words posted to BehindTheBlack.

  • Just put up about 100 windmills and kill all the birds and be done with it.

  • Patrick Underwood

    Charles exactly. The Left can contradict itself ten times before breakfast and they just don’t care. Must control, and, bonus, humiliate, the unwashed for their benefit, that is the extent of Leftist principles.

  • Jeff Wright

    To Charles, Just omit the windmill part. No Plovers, no problems.

  • John Schneider

    George C.

    “The Pipimg Plover is a big deal on Northeast beaches too. Limitations on beach access during nesting, no dogs etc. They are nervous birds, and have many predators.”

    The Piping Plover also pretty ruthlessly commandeers the entire undeveloped East Coast barrier segment from the Ocean City (MD) inlet to Cape Charles VA, via the US Fish and Wildlife Service and the Nature Conservancy. I don’t argue with the nervous and predation characterization, nor with some balanced protection, but in no way are they that endangered with habitat throughout the East and Gulf coasts. I am also familiar with F&WS managers of said conservation area who do admit to excessive top-down protectionist pressure. Furthermore the development of the RocketLab facility on Wallops Island (VA) is in the same Piping Plover barrier island habitat as Boca Chica. If the Piping Plover is the primary leverage obstructing Boca Chica then there is more to it than the survival of the Piping Plover.

  • sippin_bourbon

    Not directly related to this thread, but Starliner is off to a bad start

    https://twitter.com/cbs_spacenews/status/1521887273406640138

    Maybe this will be their one glitch. Fingers crossed.

  • Jeff Wright

    I fall down…

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