Environmental groups file another complaint attempting to stop SpaceX launches at Boca Chica

In what is now becoming a routine process of harassment, several environmental groups have filed another complaint against the FAA and Fish & Wildlife for eventually issuing a second launch license to SpaceX, permitting it to do its mid-November second orbital test launch of its Starship/Superheavy rocket from Boca Chica, Texas.

In the supplemental complaint, the groups — Center for Biological Diversity, American Bird Conservancy, Carrizo/Comecrudo Nation of Texas, Inc., Save RGV and Surfrider Foundation — allege the FAA failed to properly analyze the environmental impacts of the first Starship launch before issuing a revised license for the second launch that took place Nov. 18.

That new licensing process included an environmental review by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) regarding a pad deluge system that SpaceX installed on the pad to prevent damage like that the pad suffered during the first launch. The FWS concluded that the deluge system would produce no significant environmental changes.

The environmental groups argue that both FAA and FWS fell short of what was required under the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) to review the environmental impacts of Starship launches. The FAA, it stated in the complaint, “once again failed to take the requisite ‘hard look’ at the impacts of the Starship/Superheavy launch program through a supplemental NEPA analysis.”

Let me translate what this complaint really says, and I can do it only a few words: “Your review didn’t come to the conclusions we want — which is to block all work by SpaceX — so that we can do what we want!” Both the American Bird Conservancy and the Surfrider Foundation simply want unlimited access to the region for their own recreation, while the Center of Biological Diversity is only interested in stopping all human development anywhere — until it can settle its frequent lawsuits against the government and pocket its payoff.

As for Carrizo/Comecrudo Nation of Texas and Save RGV, both are bogus organizations. The first is for a almost non-existent Indian tribe that never even lived in this area (they were based in Mexico), and the second claims it represents the people of the south Texas region who want SpaceX’s work stopped. Since almost everyone in Brownsville and throughout the region is celebrating the new prosperity brought to them by SpaceX, it is essentially a front group for the Marxist environmental movement that hates all prosperity. It doesn’t represent anyone really in south Texas.

As before, this complaint will have to be fought, wasting time and money.

Environmentalists sue FAA, demanding it shut down Boca Chica and Starship

Starship/Superheavy at T+4:02, just after the self-destruct command was issued
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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