Defenders of Wildlife has serious concerns about impacts that can only be adequately considered by the FAA developing a full Environmental Impact Statement. - Dr. Sharon Wilcox, Senior Texas Representative
Defenders of Wildlife Senior Texas Representative Dr. Sharon Wilcox issued the following statement in response to the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) announcement today that the agency is declining to undertake a full environmental review of the proposed expansion of the SpaceX launch site at Boca Chica, Texas:
“Boca Chica is one of the most unique natural areas in the United States. The sensitivity and vulnerability of the land, air and water in the place cannot be overstated, and activities must be carefully assessed to ensure no harm to imperiled wildlife and their habitats. Defenders of Wildlife has serious concerns about impacts that can only be adequately considered by the FAA developing a full Environmental Impact Statement. By failing to further explore the implications of SpaceX's proposed expansion, the FAA is imperiling Boca Chica's delicate ecosystem.”
SpaceX intends to increase its activity at the Boca Chica facility, launching dozens of super-heavy rockets of unprecedented magnitude. The project meets the requirement for an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) because its impacts on surrounding habitat, endangered species, and the neighboring community will be significant. To comply with the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA), the FAA must prepare an EIS to undertake a comprehensive analysis to assess and mitigate damage to endangered species and critical habitat.
The proposed expansion of launch activity at this site will put ten endangered species at risk, including the ocelot, aplomado falcon, and Kemp’s Ridley sea turtle. The SpaceX launch site is adjacent to and surrounded by national wildlife refuge land, state park land, tidal flats that host many wading bird species, and beaches used by nesting sea turtles. Already, these protected areas have been impacted by falling debris and wildfires caused by explosions and crashes at the launch site.