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As opposition to SpaceX grows, Cameron County provides roads and governmental backing to the company

The ambition of SpaceX to launch the biggest rocket ever from its Boca Chica Beach facility is now fully supported by Cameron County. In an unusual session held on Tuesday outside regular business hours, the Cameron County Commissioners Court decided unanimously to endorse SpaceX’s most recent rocket endeavor. A prototype of SpaceX’s Starship rocket, a vehicle designed for Mars exploration, will be launched together with a 33-rocket booster named SuperHeavy.

The project was created by the corporation during the last several years, and state and federal organizations granted operating licenses. The Federal Aviation Administration presented the most recent regulatory challenge (FAA). The FAA finally gave SpaceX environmental certification in June, after a half-year of delays, provided they could fix more than 75 problems with its launch and growth plans.

On Tuesday, a number of locals expressed their opposition to the resolution. They said that Cameron County shouldn’t back a business that has harmed the local flora and restricted access to Boca Chica Beach. Residents also expressed dissatisfaction at Cameron County’s prior backing of SpaceX via other channels.

According to Emma Guevara, a lifetime resident of Brownsville and activist with the South Texas Environmental Justice Network, “This commission has already given this corporation so many breaks, financially and otherwise, and appears to be in the business of making it easier and easier for this firm to destroy our historical tradition in order to earn a few cash.”

Guevara, a member of the South Texas Environmental Justice Network, gave the commissioners packets containing more than 200 public comments against SpaceX. She said that county citizens who were working-class, students, or handicapped could not attend commissioners’ court proceedings.

Among other things, the commissioners voted to abandon public roadways inside the unincorporated town of Boca Chica Village, which is mostly owned by SpaceX workers. According to the county engineer, Cameron County last performed any kind of road repair more than 10 years ago. Recently, SpaceX has been using and maintaining highways that have been public rights-of-ways since before the company’s aspirations began.

The Cameron County commissioners said that abandoning the roads would not hinder owners from accessing their houses or property since the majority of the residences in Boca Chica Village are now owned by SpaceX or its workers.

Although Cameron County controlled it and state and federal wildlife agencies were responsible for its upkeep, the area where SpaceX’s facility is located had a long history. According to the Texas Carrizo Comecrudo Tribe, the grounds are holy locations, and SpaceX has built on them.

Native American studies expert Christopher Basald, a Cameron County citizen, raised the issue of how the Carrizo Comecrudo Tribe of Texas was left out of negotiations concerning the launch location, the Starship, and expansion plans. He said that not all of Brownsville’s citizens are benefiting from SpaceX.

According to Basaldu, who is also a member of the Carrizo Comecrudo Tribe of Texas and a Brownsville resident, “You think of it as economic development, but you and the affluent people in Brownsville, it’s economic development for you and for the great majority of people in Cameron County who are not very well off economically.”

The resolution for Cameron County includes various numbers that show the apparent economic effect that SpaceX has made on the county. According to the statement, SpaceX contributed to the creation of more than 7,000 employees and more than $1 billion in revenue in the Rio Grande Valley.

These numbers, according to Cameron County’s public information office, were given to the county by SpaceX. TPR has asked for documentation proving the origin of the data and the economic effect analysis indicated in the paper. Starship and SuperHeavy’s launch by SpaceX is still some time off. The later booster blew up in mid-July during a pressure test, and SpaceX has not yet been granted a launch permit by the FAA. Port Isabel and South Padre Island felt the blast from the explosion.

Source: Texas Public Radio

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Written by Alex Bruno

Freelance space writer Alex Bruno specializes in covering China's quickly expanding space industry. In 2021, he started writing for SpaceXMania. He also contributes to publications including SpaceNews, IEEE Spectrum, National Geographic, Sky & Telescope, and New Scientist. When Alex was a small child, he first experienced the space bug after seeing Voyager photographs of alien planets in our solar system. When not in space, Alex likes to go trail jogging in the Finnish countryside.

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