The Sierra Club, the Carrizo/Comecrudo Tribe of Texas, and the non-profit Save RGV have filed a lawsuit against the Texas General Land Office, Texas land commissioner George P. Bush, and Cameron County, Texas, for closing Boca Chica Beach for SpaceX operations during Starship tests on a regular basis.
"Restricting access to a public beach, as the defendants have done, violates the Texas constitution," the Sierra Club said in a statement.
None of the charges have been proven in court, and the statement makes no mention of SpaceX as one of the defendants.
The beach in Boca Chica is close to SpaceX's Starbase facility, where the company is developing Starship rocket prototypes and their huge Super Heavy boosters.
The contested Boca Chica beach is a short distance from SpaceX's Starbase complex, where the corporation designs, constructs, and tests its next-generation Starship vehicle as well as other company business. The company's plans to launch Starbase and a Super Heavy rocket on their first orbital journey are now being reviewed by the Federal Aviation Administration.
The stack is designed to transport people and cargo to the moon, Mars, and other distant locations. Elon Musk, the company's founder, has also stated that because of its reusability, the costs of Mars colony and deep space exploration will be decreased.
According to the Sierra Club, the Texas legislature changed the Texas Open Beaches Act in 2013 to permit space flight missions to close beach access. The club then stated in 2018 that SpaceX erected a rocket facility 1,500 feet (460 meters) from the beach's water edge.
"The 2013 statute change conflicts with the state constitution, which Texas voters amended in 2009 - by a 77% majority - to guarantee the right to free and open access to public beaches," the Sierra Club stated.
The beach was closed for 196 hours (approximately 8 days) in the first three months of 2022, according to the club, and for more than 600 hours (about 25 equal days) in 2021.
Save RGV filed the case in October 2021, and the Sierra Club and the Carrizo/Comecrudo Tribe of Texas announced their participation on May 5. The group is requesting that the 2013 amendment be declared unconstitutional by the court.
The group also claims that the approximately 27-mile Highway 4 in the vicinity has been closed for SpaceX operations, but did not specify how much of the highway has been stopped or how frequently in their May 5 statement.