SpaceX has not submitted requested disclosures on the environmental impact of the rocket launch site expansion. So far and no further: SpaceX is not allowed to expand its premises in the US state of Texas. Because the US space company did not provide the requested documents, a US Army agency suspended the application process.
SpaceX wants to expand its starbase in Boca Chica, Texas so that the Starship spacecraft can take off and land there, reports the US business news agency, Bloomberg. SpaceX acquired the site in south Texas near the Mexico border in 2012 to set up a rocket launch site there.
In December 2020, SpaceX filed an application to change the existing permit for the Boca Chica site, which had been granted in 2015. Among other things, the company wanted to take over Boca Chica Village. SpaceX wanted to buy the houses from the residents and offered them several times the market value.
SpaceX Wants To Fill Up Wetlands
According to a plan drawn up by SpaceX, two orbital launch pads, two suborbital launch pads, and a new landing platform are to be built on the starbase. For the expansion, SpaceX wants to drain and fill up almost seven hectares of wetlands on the Gulf of Mexico.
Therefore, the United States Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) is reviewing the approval. The US Engineer Corps is responsible for civil engineering and oversees compliance with environmental laws such as the Clean Water Act and the Rivers and Harbors Act.
The USACE had requested data from SpaceX on the area to be drained. This included, among other things, information about the presence, size, and quality of wetlands, endangered or threatened species, or historical objects at the site. However, SpaceX has not complied.
Without this information, the permitting process could not proceed, a spokeswoman for the Galveston District Army Corps told Bloomberg. However, as soon as SpaceX submits this, the process can be resumed.