Tesla stock: is Elon Musk’s SpaceX messing up the Texas ecosystem?

Elon Musk may be reaching for the stars in his SpaceX endeavors, but a major environmental group is warning that the Tesla (NASDAQ: TSLA) boss is ignoring the fragility of the ecosystem around him in his skyward focus.

What happened

The American Bird Conservancy warns that SpaceX’s Starbase missile base in Boca Chica, Texas poses an existential threat to wildlife on the Gulf Coast, according to a report from KRON-TV. “Like most people, I’m a fan of space exploration,” said EJ Williams, vice president of the American Bird Conservancy, but the problem is the destruction of sensitive and unique habitats that birds depend on for survival. Williams noted that the Boca Chica facility is surrounded by federal and state public land, which is vital to the local bird population, but has been adversely affected by construction, fires, and rocket debris from the SpaceX facility. “It’s a particularly important spot for migratory birds who come here every spring and autumn to rest and refuel so they can successfully continue and complete their migrations,” said Williams. And it seems that the damage has already been done. The Coastal Bend Bays & Estuaries Program reports that the little ringed plover population in the Boca Chica area has declined by 54% in the three years since SpaceX went live. Endangered species such as ocelots, leatherback turtles and loggerhead turtles, night swallows and aplomado falcons also live in the region.

What else happened

The Federal Aviation Administration recognized SpaceX’s impact on the local ecosystem and released a 151-page draft report on the matter in September. Wired reported that the agency held two virtual public hearings last month asking the public to comment on how the facility can coexist with its surroundings. “SpaceX cannot start the Starship / Super Heavy vehicle until the FAA completes its licensing process, which includes ongoing environmental review and other safety and financial responsibility requirements,” said a agency spokesman. SpaceX wouldn’t get a license if it couldn’t meet FAA safety regulations. “

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