HARLINGEN, Texas (KVEO) — Local environmentalists are calling on the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission to re-analyze natural gas pipelines that are planned to be built five miles away from SpaceX.
“If you’re going to be launching large rockets how far away do people, and business, and things like liquified natural gas terminals have to be to be safe?” said Jim Chapman, member of the environmental organization Save RGV.
Save RGV submitted a joint statement this week to FERC asking to re-do their risk analysis of the launch site because the conclusion was based on outdated SpaceX plans.
“We’ve asked FERC to order a new analysis and to suspend these permits until that’s done,” said Chapman.
The approved permits would allow two natural gas pipelines to be built, the Texas LNG and the Rio Grande LNG pipelines. Economic developers said that SpaceX piqued the interests of the LNG industry.
“It was interesting because we were working the SpaceX project that same year or year after that the LNG projects started knocking on our doors,” said Salinas.
FERC required LNGs to hire a third party called Millenium Engineering since their plans are within 5 miles of SpaceX’s launch site, but Millenium based their study on SpaceX’s plans from 10 years ago
“The environmental impact study that was done back then was done was basically for the first or second phases of what they were going to be doing,” said Salinas.
Salinas, who has worked closely with SpaceX founder, Elon Musk, said it took one year to complete its first and only environmental impact statement.
“Those initial hearings that we had…I mean they met with almost 5,000 people leading up to that first public hearing,” said Salinas.
Since then, SpaceX expanded and Chapman said there is more to be studied.
“Things like how large is the debris field? You know what pieces of rocket coming down either on a populated or a liquified natural gas terminal that produces and stores enormous amounts menthane,” said Chapman.