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TX - Lawsuit argues Texas can’t close public beach for SpaceX launches

McALLEN, Texas (Border Report) — Environmentalists allege that the closure of public beaches for SpaceX test launches violates the Texas Constitution.

A lawsuit filed by SaveRGV, the Sierra Club and the Carrizo Comecrudo Tribe was heard in the 445th District Court on Wednesday in Brownsville, the same week that the Federal Aviation Administration told SpaceX it must reduce the number of hours that Boca Chica Beach, a public beach located on the border with Mexico, is closed for launch tests.

The lawsuit heard Wednesday challenges the constitutionality of an amendment to the Texas Open Beaches Act that allows beach closures for space flight activities. The case is brought against the Texas General Land Office, Land Commissioner George P. Bush and Cameron County, where Boca Chica Beach is located.

The groups argue that the repeated closure of Boca Chica Beach in order to allow SpaceX to test rockets is a violation of the 1959 Texas Open Beaches Act that guarantees “the public’s right to free and unrestricted access to public beaches along the Gulf Coast,” according to the lawsuit that was filed in October 2021.

The groups allege that it was illegal for the Texas Legislature in 2013 to pass a law allowing for exceptions to that act for space flight activities.

“Here we’re talking about open beach access,” plaintiff attorney Marisa Perales, of San Antonio, told State District Judge Gloria Rincones. “These members of the Sierra Club and SaveRGV have recreational interests. They have all visited and relied upon their ability to visit the beach throughout decades, years, some for their entire lives as they are from this area. So they are impacted by the frequent beach closures.”

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