Local activist says new environmental research is past due on SpaceX


BOCA CHICA, Texas (KVEO) — For many, SpaceX is an exciting sight on Boca Chica beach, but some environmentalists are concerned about the effect it could have on the wildlife in the Rio Grande Valley.

“I’m pro-SpaceX. I just wish they were doing it somewhere else,” said Jim Chapman, President of Friends of the Wildlife Corridor. 

Jim Chapman

Chapman has worked closely with the Rio Grande Valley’s native wildlife for over a decade and says he is one of the few environmentalists who can speak publicly on SpaceX.  

This month the Federal Aviation administration approved SpaceX’s latest designs for their growing facility, but some are calling for new research. 

“With SpaceX’s new plans you need to do a new environmental impact statement, and an environmental impact statement is much more thorough and another thing is: it requires public participation,” said Chapman. 

He says the original plan in 2014 included 9 to 12 launches a year, but this month alone Cameron County Judge Eddie Treviño closed highway 4 a total of 9 times for testing.  

Chapman says there is too much at stake on Boca Chica. 

“One of the least developed public beaches in Texas, you got 7 miles of beach it’s used by endangered sea turtles to nest,” said Chapman. 

Chapman says three raptor engines were used to test launch last week, but their end goal will use 37 raptor engines.  

He says since SpaceX is a private company, information is not readily available to make a conclusion. 


Chapman says some of those endangered animals include the Piping Plover, Sea Turtles and Ocelots.  

“I don’t want to wait until it’s all a done-deal, because… then it’s a done deal,” said Chapman. 

Piping Plover; photo courtesy of U.S. Fish and Wildlife

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