CAMERON COUNTY, Texas – A Texas nonprofit has filed a lawsuit claiming the repeated closure of a Texas public beach in order to accommodate SpaceX rocket tests violates the Texas Constitution and “Texans essential right to access Texas beaches.”
Named as defendants in the lawsuit are Texas Land Commissioner George P. Bush, his office and Cameron County.
The lawsuit, first reported by Reuters, was filed Monday in Cameron County state court by a group called Save Rio Grande Valley.
According to court documents, the Texas Open Beaches Act of 1959 codified the public’s “right to free and unrestricted access to beaches along the Gulf Coast.” However, documents note, the Texas Legislate in 2013 passed House Bill 2623, which amended the Texas Open Beaches Act to allow for the closing of public beaches “for space flight activities.”
The lawsuit alleges that Bush and Cameron County, using those provisions, “have allowed for the closure of Boca Chica Beach – a public beach, along the Gulf of Mexico, in Cameron County – for as many as 450 hours per year, to allow a private corporation, Space Exploration Technologies Corp. (‘SpaceX’), to conduct an array of activities related to the launching of spacecraft or other launch vehicles.”
So far there’s been no public response to the lawsuit from Bush, who is running for Texas attorney general, Cameron County or SpaceX CEO Elon Musk.