A judge is expected to hear a lawsuit on June 1 regarding restrictions on access to a South Texas beach amid SpaceX’s activities for the Starship program.
The Sierra Club, the Carrizo/Comecrudo Tribe of Texas, and the nonprofit Save RGV have joined together in a lawsuit against the Texas General Land Office, Texas Land Commissioner George B. Bush, and Cameron County in Texas to periodically close Boca Chica Beach for a period of time. SpaceX Operations during the Starship tests, the Sierra Club stated May 5. Boca Chica Beach is located near SpaceX’s Starbase facility, where construction is taking place Starship Prototypes of massive, super-heavy rockets and boosters.
“Restricting public beach access, as the defendants did, violates the Texas Constitution,” the Sierra Club said in a statement. None of the allegations have been substantiated in court, and the statement does not name SpaceX among the entities pursued in the lawsuit.
The contested beach of Boca Chica is just down the road from SpaceX’s Starbase facility where it develops, builds and tests the next-generation Starship vehicle and does the company’s other business. Starbase is currently under domain Federal Aviation Administration Environmental Review He accepted the company’s plans to launch it and its Super Heavy rocket on its first orbital flight.
The fully reusable stack is intended for transporting people and goods to the moon, Mars and other faraway destinations. Founder Elon Musk He also said that settlement of Mars and exploration of deep space will see lower costs due to the potential for reuse.
In 2013, according to Sierra Club Statement (Opens in a new tab), the Texas legislature amended the Texas Open Beaches Act to allow spaceflight operations to close beach access. Then the club added that in 2018, SpaceX built a rocket facility 1,500 feet (460 meters) from the water’s edge for shore.
The Sierra Club stated that “the 2013 law change goes against the state constitution, which Texas voters amended in 2009 — by 77 percent — to guarantee the right of free and open access to public beaches.”
The club claimed that the beach was closed for 196 hours (equivalent to about 8 days) in the first three months of 2022, and that 2021 saw more than 600 hours (about 25 equivalent days) of closure.
“The accused have closed Boca Chica Beach so much that RGV [Rio Grande Valley] Residents saw their arrival essentially disappear. The Carrizo/Comecrudo Nation of Texas, considered the sacred land of Boca Chica, has been ignored, while they have lost access to their ancestral heritage,” the club stated.
The lawsuit was first filed by Save RGV in October 2021, and the Sierra Club and the Carrizo/Comecrudo Tribe of Texas announced their joining on May 5. The group is asking the court to invalidate the 2013 amendment.
The group also claims that Interstate 4, which is about 27 miles (43 kilometers) long in the area, has been closed to SpaceX operations, but it did not say in its May 5 statement how many of the highway had been closed or how often.