Starship/Superheavy at T+4:02, just after the self-destruct command
was issued on April 20, 2023. It also appears to be the fate of SpaceX’s
entire Boca Chica operation, if the environmental radicals get their way.
A group of environmental groups as well as a non-profit corporation calling itself the Carrizo/Comecrudo Nation of Texas, Inc, today filed a lawsuit against the Federal Aviation Administration FAA), demanding it shut down SpaceX’s Boca Chica facility and block all further Superheavy/Starship launches.
You can read the lawsuit here [pdf]. Its essence is contained in these two paragraphs:
The area surrounding the SpaceX facility at Boca Chica is a biologically diverse and essential habitat area for many species, including federally protected wildlife and animals that are considered sacred to the Carrizo/Comecrudo People, such as the critically endangered ocelot. The SpaceX facility is smack in the middle of publicly owned conservation, park, and recreation lands, including a National Wildlife Refuge, two State Parks, a State Wildlife Management Area, and a State Coastal Preserve. These lands are of extraordinary conservation value for a range of federally and state lists wildlife and other protected species such as migratory birds. Bird species from both the Central and Mississippi flyways converge there, making it an essential wintering and stopover area for migratory birds as they move north and south each year.
SpaceX activities authorized in the FONSI/ROD [the environmental reassessment issued last year] have and will adversely affect the surrounding wildlife habitat and communities. In addition to harm from construction activities and increased vehicle traffic, rocket launches result in intense heat, noise, and light pollution. Furthermore, the rocket launches and testing result in explosions which spread debris across surrounding habitat and cause brush/forest fires — including one that recently burned 68 acres of adjacent National Wildlife Refuge. The FAA calls these explosions “anomalies,” but in fact they occur frequently, with at least 8 over the past 5 years. FAA acknowledged that many more such “anomalies” are expected over the next 5 years. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has found that prior SpaceX rocket explosions harmed protected wildlife and designated habitat in violation of the Endangered Species Act (ESA).
In other words, rockets and launch sites should never be placed inside wildlife refuges, because such activity is detrimental to wildlife.
A more false statement cannot be made. Under this conclusion the launch facilities at Cape Canaveral, which have been operating in the middle of a wildlife refuge now for more than six decades, should be shut down immediately. All the wildlife there must certainly be dead!
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