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Texas authorities threaten SpaceX with legal action over beach closures, private security



The discrepancy focuses on SpaceX’s activities in South Texas, where the company has seized large tracts of land near Boca Chica Beach to build and test massive prototypes of rockets that CEO Elon Musk predicts will one day carry. the first humans on Mars.

The frequent roadblocks and traffic jams that SpaceX has brought to the area, as well as the explosive rockets proving setbacks who have wrapped local beaches with shrapnel have often rubbed locals and environmental activists wrong. Now, Cameron County District Attorney, which encompasses Boca Chica Beach, warns SpaceX that its actions could cause the company and possibly employees to be “subject to arrest and prosecution,” according to a letter from the ’11 June obtained by CNN Business.
The content of the letter came first reported by local television KRGV.

In the note, Cameron County District Attorney Luis Saenz alleged that members of his staff, while investigating a resident’s complaints about the behavior of SpaceX’s private security personnel on June 9 , they met a man wearing a “bulletproof tactical vest” who “approached and stopped.” and arrested them for trying to gain access to a public thoroughfare near SpaceX’s manufacturing facility.

Saenz’s letter states that the county had not authorized the closure of the road at the time and that its staff learned that the security guard detaining them was not licensed by the Texas Department of Public Safety, as required. State law.

“This behavior is unacceptable,” the letter says, adding that Saenz was more concerned that SpaceX responded to that incident and another similar incident in early April by sending the incidents to an “overly zealous security guard.”

“While Space-X is a valuable member of our community, this does not authorize Space-X, its employees, staff, agents and / or contractors to ignore Texas law,” the letter states. “Also, keep in mind that if this behavior were to occur again, not only could each Space-X employee / contractor / agent be arrested and prosecuted, but as a Texas business entity … Space-X could be processed as well. ”

SpaceX did not return feedback requests.

The letter also raises complaints about the extent to which SpaceX has restricted access to Boca Chica Beach, which is one of the closest beaches to the city of Brownsville and one of the last stretches of undeveloped coastline in the state. SpaceX is only allowed to close beaches for up to 300 hours a year for rocket testing and launching, according to an agreement with the Federal Aviation Administration.

But just six months into 2021, the company has already closed the beaches for about 385 hours, according to Saenz’s letter.

SpaceX’s actions could lead to a Class B misdemeanor (for “obstructing a road or other aisle”) and a third-degree felony (for “impersonating a public officer”), the letter states.

The letter, addressed to the chief of operations of the SpaceX spacecraft, Shyamal Patel, also requests that SpaceX respond with legal justification for its action before June 14, although it is unclear whether SpaceX has responded. Saenz’s office did not respond to a request for comment on the matter.

Saenz’s letter states that Save RGV, a local environmental group, reported from his office on problems with SpaceX.

Mary Angela Branch, an advocate for Save RGV and a resident of Port Isabel, the city adjacent to Boca Chica Beach, told CNN Business that she began collecting evidence of SpaceX shares after hearing a friend say agents SpaceX security guards allegedly banned access to the public thoroughfare to people without county permission.

“I don’t know how they came out with all this,” Branch told CNN Business. “It’s scary.”



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