Should a private company, Space X, be allowed to close a portion of Boca Chica Beach in Brownsville to launch rockets into space? Environmentalists say no, but backers of the program say the environmentalists have it all wrong.
"When you're talking about endangered species this could be major impacts," said Luke Metzger of the group Environment Texas. "We are not convinced that the steps they have taken will be enough."
Metzger says the fact that the spaceport will be located on the Gulf Coast is a problem for the endangered sea turtles which live in the area.
"Space X hasn't even committed to not launching during the sea turtle hatching season," he said.
But the Texas Space Alliance says environmentalists don't recognize a good thing when they see it.
The Alliance’s Rick Tumlinson says Elon Musk, who is he CEO of Space X, is one of the leading environmentalists in the country. Tumlinson points out that Musk's money is behind the Tesla electric automobile, and he has been recognized as a national leader in sustainability.
"The irony here, that they're missing out, is this guy is a huge environmentalist," Tumlinson said.
He said while Space X is recognized as the leading private space company in the United States, there are others which don't have the same environmental responsibility as Space X. He says environmentalists should be encouraging Space X to succeed, because some firm will take the lead in this endeavor, and he says Environment Texas should push for Space X to be that firm.
"Musk built electric cars, he is behind a development called Solar City."
If Space X does not succeed, advocates for space flight say the company that does succeed will probably have a less exemplary environmental record.