Starship and Super Heavy Stack.
Credit: SpaceX

A petition from the American Bird Conservancy is telling SpaceX and the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) to prioritize birds and wildlife habitat at SpaceX’s Boca Chica operations facility.

That sprawling facility is home base for development of the SpaceX Starship.

“SpaceX is putting vulnerable birds and other wildlife at risk in the coastal region of Boca Chica, Texas. In its rush to launch the massive Starship rocket, the aerospace manufacturer has ignored its destructive impacts on sensitive surrounding habitat,” explains Michael J. Parr, President of the American Bird Conservancy in The Plains, Virginia.

Banner photos: SpaceX Debris by Kendal Keyes; Piping Plover by Ray Hennessy/Shutterstock via American Bird Conservancy

Parr adds that the area is inhabited by several imperiled species and used by hundreds of thousands of birds throughout the year, including the federally Threatened Piping Plover and Red Knot.

Ongoing construction, along with fires, and rocket debris falling from the sky have already impacted important habitats, Parr says, putting at-risk bird species in peril.

Little oversight

“Despite the area’s ecological importance,” Parr continues, “SpaceX has expanded operations with little oversight from the FAA.”

Rather than circumventing the appropriate environmental review process, Parr says that SpaceX should work with the FAA to conduct a full-scale environmental impact statement, as required by the National Environmental Policy Act.

Starship test flight.
Credit: SpaceX/Inside Outer Space screengrab

“The FAA is currently reviewing an environmental assessment of SpaceX’s Boca Chica operations facility. The draft assessment failed to provide a full picture of the facility’s environmental impacts, and it’s critical that we push for a comprehensive study,” Parr suggests. “Demand a full-scale, in-depth analysis of SpaceX’s environmental impacts before the FAA concludes its environmental assessment review.”

The project review has already been delayed by a deluge of comments from the public over 19,000 responses submitted, Parr points out, “showing the power of raising our voices.”

Habitat of the threatened Piping Plover in Boca Chica, littered with debris from SpaceX operations.
Photo credit: Coastal Bend Bays & Estuaries Program

Action alert

In Parr’s “action alert,” he writes that SpaceX continues pushing boundaries to meet an ambitious development plan that requires birds and the environment to pay too high a price. “The company has increased its scope well beyond what the FAA authorized in 2014, including testing a new 400-foot ship, much larger than originally specified, as well as the development of a natural gas facility to extract and deliver fuel to the site.”

Credit: SpaceX

While the American Bird Conservancy supports space exploration, Parr adds that it should not come at a high cost to the environment and wildlife here on Earth. “Too much sensitive public land has already been impacted by the SpaceX facility — and much more is at risk if we don’t raise our voices now.”

It is not too late to hold SpaceX accountable, Parr concludes.

The petition can be found here at:

https://act.abcbirds.org/a/take-action-petition-spacex?source=22_MoJo_SpaceX&ms=cpm

For more information on the American Bird Conservancy, go to:

https://abcbirds.org/

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