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SpaceX Brownsville Space Port Opposed By Texas Environmentalists 409

MarkWhittington writes "The proposed SpaceX space port in Brownsville, Texas, has run into opposition from an environmental group. Environment Texas is conducting a petition drive to stop the project. According to a news release by the group, the proposed space port, which would include a launch pad and control and spacecraft processing facilities, would be 'almost surrounded' by a park and wildlife refuge. Environment Texas claims the launching of rockets would 'scare the heck' out of every creature in the area and would 'spray noxious chemicals all over the place.' The petition will demand SpaceX build the space port elsewhere." I suspect a lot of people in Brownsville are instead looking forward to the jobs, tourists and excitement that a spaceport would bring.
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SpaceX Brownsville Space Port Opposed By Texas Environmentalists

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  • by Karmashock ( 2415832 ) on Saturday June 02, 2012 @03:48PM (#40195953)

    It's people like this that make me want to leave this planet. If you want the whole planet treated like some big national park then we can do that. Just let the portion of humanity that doesn't want to live like Luddites leave the planet.

    It might take us awhile... but f'ing with us at this stage is not helping.

    In all seriousness, if putting this facility in Texas isn't feasible where exactly on planet earth can we put it?

    Oh I know... china.

    I f'ing hate these people.

  • by Ironchew ( 1069966 ) on Saturday June 02, 2012 @03:50PM (#40195963)

    I suspect a lot of people in Brownsville are instead looking forward to the jobs, tourists and excitement that a spaceport would bring.

    I don't see how that follows from environmental concerns. Majority (or, in this case, nearly universal) support for something doesn't necessarily mean it's good in the long term.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday June 02, 2012 @03:51PM (#40195967)

    Really, why do people think "Because...Jobs!!" is a good way to make an argument?

    Do you think it trumps the other concerns?

    Maybe the problem is deeper than just one employer, maybe there are values other than just employment.

    I know, putting people to work is the Holy Grail of society, but didn't we learn not to choose poorly?

  • Re:Mojave? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by mycroft16 ( 848585 ) on Saturday June 02, 2012 @03:54PM (#40195987)
    Mojave is only certified for horizontal launch of spacecraft, such as Scaled Composite's White Knight/SpaceShip1 combo. SpaceX is launching rockets. Doesn't really fly to launch those over land. People tend to complain. That's why they are all located on coasts. Kennedy, Wallops, Vandenberg... Brownsville is an ideal location. Now, Kennedy is also in the middle of a wildlife preserve, as is the Stennis Space Center where they do engine testing. Animals don't have the heck scared out of them at either location. Nor are their noxious chemicals spread all over.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday June 02, 2012 @03:54PM (#40195993)

    There's nothing wrong with treating most of the planet like a national park, IMO. The problem is that ecosystems aren't as fragile as these idiots think. Just spraying "chemicals" all over the place isn't going to hurt anything, nor will some extremely occasional noises scare any animals or plants into oblivion. Different ecosystems may have achille's heels. Science will help to identify those and other issues.

    What definitely kills animals and plants is deforestation and destruction of the landscape, mostly (excluding extractive industries) committed by poor and indigent people all around the world because of lack of alternative economic opportunities.

  • HIPPIE DIRTBAGS! (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Jeremiah Cornelius ( 137 ) on Saturday June 02, 2012 @03:55PM (#40195995) Homepage Journal

    Don't they know that they are standing in the way of the last escape from this polluted trap?

  • by ridgecritter ( 934252 ) on Saturday June 02, 2012 @03:58PM (#40196015)

    as demonstrated by the Merrit Island National Wildlife Refuge (, which includes Kennedy Space Center. Gotta say, when I watched the SpaceX launch last week, I didn't notice any 'gators running away in panic. Five minutes after the launch, the frogs were ribbiting just as loudly as before liftoff. In TX I suppose it will be 'dillos, and I doubt they'll notice launch operations any more than KSC's wildlife has over the decades of launch operations there.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday June 02, 2012 @03:58PM (#40196017)

    They may actually have a point you know, since they actually live there. I don't have enough information either way, why so quick to judge?

  • by PolygamousRanchKid ( 1290638 ) on Saturday June 02, 2012 @04:03PM (#40196055)

    Texas has a lot of hunting folks, and they tend to be in favor of preserving the environment . . . the environment is great hunting land.

  • by Ironchew ( 1069966 ) on Saturday June 02, 2012 @04:05PM (#40196059)

    Escape to where, exactly? Alarmist as they may be at times, environmentalists have a point: we all live here, and we haven't found anywhere else to populate. Evacuating the Earth is a fantasy even more remote from reality than the most extreme environmentalist solutions.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday June 02, 2012 @04:05PM (#40196063)

    > Do you think it trumps the other concerns?

    When the "other concerns" are scaring bambi and burning a little bit of kerosene... yes. It does trump those.

  • by mosb1000 ( 710161 ) <> on Saturday June 02, 2012 @04:17PM (#40196127)

    What noxious chemicals are they talking about? Somehow I suspect they lack the technical expertise accurately assess the environmental impact if they will make a ridiculous claim like that. It shows a fundamental lack of understanding of the technologies used in SpaceX rockets.

  • by couchslug ( 175151 ) on Saturday June 02, 2012 @04:26PM (#40196179)

    Why NOT put it overseas?

    MAN needs to explore space. Mankind doesn't need the US to do it.

    The mission of the USA is now enforcement of corporate globalism.

    We have ceased to be a force for good, and development of other nations would provide greater benefit to humanity.

    You aren't going to get a space ride unless you are insanely rich or an astronaut willing to devote decades to a career in hopes of getting a shot, so stop dreaming.

  • by Karmashock ( 2415832 ) on Saturday June 02, 2012 @04:36PM (#40196229)

    Your argument is self contradictory.

    If we're about corporate globalism then why would we pay any attention to these idiots?

    The simple fact that the environmental movement is relevant in these matters renders your whole argument void.

    Again... I don't want to argue with you or the environmentalists... You can have the earth. Keep it in good health.

    Just let me leave. It might take another 10,000 years to get there... who knows. But we're leaving this mud ball and you're f'ing welcome to it. Do what you want so long as at the end of it all my descendants don't have to listen to your descents bleat on about more stupid shit.

    Sorry if this is rude... I'm fed up.

  • by macraig ( 621737 ) <mark DOT a DOT craig AT gmail DOT com> on Saturday June 02, 2012 @04:45PM (#40196269)

    Guess which 'environment' they're trying to protect?

    That's right: the oil fields environment!

  • by DesScorp ( 410532 ) <DesScorp@Gm[ ].com ['ail' in gap]> on Saturday June 02, 2012 @05:09PM (#40196421) Homepage Journal

    It consists of unemployed people from California, who moved to Texas looking for work.

    You're not too far off from the truth there. While there's always been a small contingent of native liberals that gather in Austin, native Texans are vocally concerned about the waves of Californians moving to surrounding states. The thinking is that these people supported stupid policies that transformed California from the nation's envy to Greece with a Valley Girl accent, and now they're leaving California like locusts that have eaten up one field and are moving on to others. I've got friends there that are worried about Californians coming to Texas for the jobs, and then trying to turn Texas into California.

  • by Man On Pink Corner ( 1089867 ) on Saturday June 02, 2012 @05:16PM (#40196465)

    So you are saying that industrial and other economic activity by rich economies isn't the major source of environmental degradation? Really?

    You know how I can tell you're not very familiar with the former Soviet republics?

  • by BenJCarter ( 902199 ) on Saturday June 02, 2012 @05:51PM (#40196679)
    Nah, the enviro Luddites have moved beyond NIMBY, they are now BANANAs. (Build Absolutely Nothing Anywhere Near Anything).
  • by khallow ( 566160 ) on Saturday June 02, 2012 @05:58PM (#40196719)

    The thing I don't understand is why they absolutely want this location despite the risk to the environment it would have. Isn't there plenty of suitable locations in the USA that aren't literally surrounded by a state park?

    There are three things to note here. First, as AC noted, Brownsville is as far south as you can get in the lower 48. Closer to the equator means more delta v and more payload to orbit. Second, as has been noted elsewhere, JFK Space Center is downrange from Brownsville and allows SpaceX a convenient place for their reusable first stages to land.

    Third, being surrounded by a refuge is a feature not a bug. Rockets have a risk of not going where they're supposed to. It's better to create a crater in a refuge than a crater in a town, as the Chinese found out.

  • Re:Move along.. (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday June 02, 2012 @06:01PM (#40196743)

    It's not concern... It's a batch of bunny humpin' tree-huggers trying to inflict their own agenda on everyone else.

  • by gtirloni ( 1531285 ) on Saturday June 02, 2012 @07:18PM (#40197363)
    I've no side in this "contest". I don't even live in Texas.

    Just saying both sides are quick to judge and label the other without providing good arguments.

    If you think your "opponent" is dumb, doesn't mean you've to step down to his level.
  • by Mabhatter ( 126906 ) on Saturday June 02, 2012 @08:35PM (#40197779)

    Still, a spaceport needs lots of empty, human free area around it. That goes nicely with the interests of creating a wildlife preserve. A rocket launch isnt teribly more noisy or violent than a nasty thunderstorm. No, it's not ideal for the critters, but it's also good use of space when we have it.

  • by atriusofbricia ( 686672 ) on Saturday June 02, 2012 @08:52PM (#40197873) Journal

    I've got friends there that are worried about Californians coming to Texas for the jobs, and then trying to turn Texas into California.

    You mean, a place with high-paying jobs that offer health-insurance, as well as some idea that just dumping crap into the environment might be a bad idea? That might actually be an improvement.

    In the meantime, keep your paranoia to yourself.

    It is not at all an unreasonable concern that people will vote for crap, California, and then when that place turns into the crap the voted for they go somewhere else and upon arrival they continue to vote for crap. Paranoia it isn't.

  • by Doc Ruby ( 173196 ) on Saturday June 02, 2012 @11:02PM (#40198611) Homepage Journal

    I don't see the people of Brownsville living adjacent to the launchpad, where they'd get blasted with the noise and exhaust of a giant rocket all the time. Even the ones "looking forward to the jobs, tourists and excitement that a spaceport would bring". Well, maybe the ones looking for the excitement.

    Nor should they have to suck up exhaust and launch blasts. Neither should the animals in the park. I suppose these people think it's a good idea to put it into the park "because nobody lives there". But plenty of animals do - that's why it's a wildlife refuge.

    Texas is huge. There's plenty of places in Texas, and elsewhere in the US, where the launch blasts won't have to blast any species that cares about it. We don't have to choose between launching and being humane.

  • by Doc Ruby ( 173196 ) on Saturday June 02, 2012 @11:05PM (#40198645) Homepage Journal

    Yes, that's why Northern California never builds anything. And why you live inside a a coal plant.

    You corporate power worshippers are suicidal.

  • by Asic Eng ( 193332 ) on Sunday June 03, 2012 @04:17AM (#40199757)

    Space exploration with today's technology might well be like trying to build a 747 in medieval times. It's not going to go any faster no matter how much money you pour into hot air balloon building. The best thing you could have done at the time was to fund research in physics.

    If you really want to explore space, you probably need to invest in the LHC and similar fundamental research.

What ever you want is going to cost a little more than it is worth. -- The Second Law Of Thermodynamics