May 8, 2013 9:05 AM
BROWNSVILLE - Several hundred people turned out for a discussion of a draft environmental study of a proposal to launch rockets from the southernmost tip of Texas.
The public hearing Tuesday followed release last month of the draft environmental impact statement. It centers on California-based SpaceX's plan to launch as many as 12 rockets a year from a site surrounded by a federal wildlife refuge near Boca Chica Beach, east of Brownsville.
The draft study found the launches would "adversely affect" but not significantly disrupt endangered species if steps are taken to mitigate effects.
The process is necessary to Federal Aviation Administration licensing of SpaceX to launch rockets there. FAA spokesman Lynn Lunsford expects a final report by early fall.
SpaceX project director Steve Davis expects a site decision by year's end.