Special to the PRESS
House Bill 2623 by State Rep. Rene Oliveira allows Cameron County to temporarily close an area of beach for launches and space flight activities with approval of the General Land Office.
“It’s significant that we are moving quickly in the legislative process,” said Oliveira. “It’s important legislation that shows Texas is serious about promoting the space industry. It also demonstrates that Brownsville is committed to making the project happen.”
Although SpaceX has not made a final decision to relocate to the area, Oliveira said he filed the bill to make certain the necessary legislative measures are in place to move the project forward. The bill now moves to the House Calendars Committee where it will be set for a date for full House approval.
“The project has received amazing support at the local and state levels. We want to make the project happen here, but we are also making certain in the bill that the people of Cameron County have access to their beaches at peak times,” said Oliveira.
The bill specifies that a county must have the approval of the state’s General Land Office before a launch may be made. The bill also prohibits the closure of a beach during the Saturday or Sunday preceding Memorial Day; Memorial Day; July 4; a Saturday after Memorial Day but before Labor Day; and, a Sunday after Memorial Day but before Labor Day.
The proposed SpaceX project must still undergo federal scrutiny through the Federal Aviation Administration as well environmental impact studies. If the FAA does not approve SpaceX’s launch site, the beaches cannot be closed. Beaches may only be closed for a launch at an FAA approved site. If the FAA denies the site, the bill will have no effect. The FAA will address launch site environmental issues in its Environmental Impact Study.