SpaceX test launches in the Rio Grande Valley are disrupting access to Boca Chica beach, northeast of Brownsville. The public beach has been a destination for Cameron County locals for generations.
Now the nonprofit environment group SaveRGV is suing the county, the Texas General Land Office, or GLO, and its commissioner, George P. Bush, arguing the beach’s frequent closures for SpaceX launches violate the Texas Constitution.
A 2013 amendment to the Texas Open Beaches Act made it possible for the county to shut down beach access for space-related activities. The GLO enforces the rules in that amendment. But SaveRGV board member Mary Angela Branch tells Texas Standard the shutdowns have become a burden to the community over the past few years. She says the shut downs happen frequently and needlessly, and violate Texans’ rights.
“The Texas Constitution is unique in that, giving the public that free access [is] unique among all states, and it’s stronger than 10 acres of garlic and nobody has the right to take that away from us,” Branch told Texas Standard.
Listen to the interview with Branch in the audio player above.