Below is an update from the FAA, a link to the draft Environmental Impact Study (EIS) and the notice of the scheduled public hearing on May 7th on the draft EIS for the SpaceX program. It is just one more step closer to SpaceX moving close to South Padre Island.
In accordance with the National Environmental Policy Act, as amended (NEPA; 42 United States Code 4321 et seq.) the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), Office of Commercial Space Transportation (AST) is announcing the availability of the Draft Environmental Impact Statement for the SpaceX Texas Launch Site (Draft EIS). The Draft EIS is also submitted for review pursuant to the following public law requirements: Section 4(f) of the Department of Transportation Act (49 U.S.C. Section 303); Section 106 of the National Historic Preservation Act (16 U.S.C. 470); Executive Order 11988, Floodplain Management; DOT Order 5650.2, Floodplain Management and Protection; Executive Order 11990, Protection of Wetlands; and DOT Order 5660.1A, Preservation of the Nation’s Wetlands.
The FAA is evaluating Space Exploration Technologies Corp. (SpaceX’s) proposal to launch the Falcon 9 and Falcon Heavy orbital vertical launch vehicles from a private site located in Cameron County, Texas, which would require the FAA to issue launch licenses and/or experimental permits. Issuing launch licenses or experimental permits is considered a major Federal action subject to environmental review under NEPA. Under the Proposed Action, SpaceX would construct a vertical launch area at the eastern end of Texas State Highway 4 (Boca Chica Boulevard) and a nearby control center area to support up to 12 commercial launches per year. SpaceX would be required to apply for the appropriate launch licenses and/or experimental permits to be issued by the FAA. The Draft EIS evaluates potential environmental impacts from the Proposed Action and the No Action Alternative. The Proposed Action would include a significant encroachment on floodplains per DOT Order 5650.2, Floodplain Management Protection. Under the No Action Alternative, the FAA would not issue launch licenses and/or experimental permits to SpaceX.
An electronic version of the Draft EIS is available on the FAA/AST website: http://www.faa.gov/about/office_org/headquarters_offices/ast/environmental/nepa_docs/review/documents_progress/spacex_texas_launch_site_environmental_impact_statement/.
A paper copy and an electronic version of the Draft EIS may be reviewed during regular business hours at the following Brownsville locations:
• Brownsville Public Library, 2600 Central Blvd
• Southmost Branch Library, 4320 Southmost Blvd
• University of Texas at Brownsville, Oliveira Library, 80 Fort Brown St.
The FAA will hold a public hearing on the Draft EIS on May 7, 2013, 5:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m., at the International Technology, Education, and Commerce (ITEC) Center, located at 301 Mexico Boulevard, Suite G-1, Brownsville, TX 78520.
The public hearing will include a poster information session from 5:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m., FAA presentation from 6:00 p.m. to 6:15 p.m., followed by a public statement period in which members of the public may provide up to a 3-minute statement. The FAA will transcribe oral comments. All comments received during the comment period will be given equal weight and be taken into consideration in the preparation of the Final EIS.
The FAA encourages all interested parties to provide comments concerning the scope and content of the Draft EIS by June 3, 2013. Comments on the Draft EIS should be as specific as possible and address the analysis of potential environmental impacts and the adequacy of the Proposed Action or merits of alternatives and the mitigation being considered. Reviewers should organize their participation so that it is meaningful and makes the agency aware of the viewer’s interests and concerns using quotations and other specific references to the text of the Draft EIS and related documents. Matters that could have been raised with specificity during the comment period on the Draft EIS may not be considered if they are raised for the first time later in the decision process. This commenting procedure is intended to ensure that substantive comments and concerns are made available to the FAA in a timely manner so that the FAA has an opportunity to address them.
Comments or questions regarding the Draft EIS can be submitted to Ms. Stacey M. Zee, FAA Environmental Specialist, SpaceX EIS c/o Cardno TEC Inc., 275 West Street, Suite 110, Annapolis, MD 21401. Comments may also be submitted via email to email@example.com or by fax to (410) 990-0455.
Note – Please direct all comments and questions to: firstname.lastname@example.org