In compliance with the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA), the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) Office of Commercial Space Transportation prepared an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) to evaluate the potential environmental impacts that may result from the FAA proposal to issue launch licenses and/or experimental permits to Space Exploration Technologies Corp. (SpaceX). The launch licenses and/or experimental permits would allow SpaceX to launch the Falcon 9 and Falcon Heavy orbital vertical launch vehicles and a variety of smaller reusable suborbital launch vehicles from a launch site on privately-owned property in Cameron County, Texas.
The FAA issued a Notice of Availability (NOA) of the Draft EIS in the Federal Register on April 19, 2013. Copies of the Draft EIS were sent to persons and agencies that requested a copy. The FAA held a public hearing on May 7, 2013 to obtain comments on the Draft EIS.
The FAA has submitted the Final EIS to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). The EPA posted a notification in the Federal Register on June 6, 2014, announcing the availability of the Final EIS. The FAA issued a detailed NOA (PDF, 199 KB) in the Federal Register on June 6, 2014. The FAA will issue a Record of Decision no sooner than 30 days following EPA's notice in the Federal Register. A notice of the Record of Decision will be published in the Federal Register.
Final Environmental Impact Statement – SpaceX Texas Launch Site
- Volume I – Executive Summary and Chapters 1-14, May 2014 (PDF, 5.12 MB)
- Volume II – Appendices, May 2014 (PDF, 46.23 MB)
- Volume III – Comments on the Draft EIS (PDF, 25.31 MB)
- Resumen Ejecutivo, Mayo 2014 (Executive Summary – Spanish Version) (PDF)
Copies were sent to persons and agencies that requested a copy. A paper copy and electronic version of the Final EIS are also available at the following locations:
- Brownsville Public Library Main Branch, 2600 Central Boulevard, Brownsville, Texas 78520
- Southmost Branch Library, 4320 Southmost Boulevard, Brownsville, Texas 78520
- University of Texas at Brownsville, Oliveira Library, 80 Fort Brown Street, Brownsville, Texas 78521
Record of Decision
The FAA signed a Record of Decision (ROD) (PDF) for SpaceX's proposal on July 9, 2014. The ROD documents the alternative selected by the FAA and includes stipulations, mitigation, and applicable requirements that must be met prior to, during, and after implementation of the selected alternative.
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Biological and Conference Opinion
- SpaceX Texas Launch Site – U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) Biological and Conference Opinion (BCO) (PDF)
In compliance with Section 7 of the Endangered Species Act, the FAA conducted formal consultation with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) to evaluate the potential impacts of the Proposed Action on federally listed threatened and endangered species and designated critical habitat. The evaluation also included a species currently proposed for listing. The USFWS issued its Final Biological and Conference Opinion (PDF) on December 18, 2013, concluding the consultation process.
National Historic Preservation Act Section 106 Programmatic Agreement
In compliance with Section 106 and 36 CFR §800.6, the FAA developed a Programmatic Agreement (PA) with the Texas State Historic Preservation Officer, National Park Service, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Texas Parks and Wildlife Department, Advisory Council on Historic Preservation, and SpaceX to address the potential adverse effects to historic properties should the Proposed Action be implemented. The PA (PDF) was finalized and signed by all parties in May 2014.