CCA FLORIDA STRONGLY OPPOSES THE USE OF
MERRITT ISLAND NATIONAL WILDLIFE REFUGE AND MOSQUITO LAGOON AREA FOR PRIVATE, COMMERCIAL SPACE LAUNCH SITE!
MAJOR ADVERSE IMPACTS ARE EXPECTED ON EVIRONMENTAL RESOURCES, CRITICAL HABITAT, AND PUBLIC ANGLER ACCESS.
OPPOSE THE USE OF PUBLICLY OWNED WILDLIFE REFUGE LANDS FOR COMMERCIAL LAUNCH SITES.
ACT NOW! SEND YOUR EMAIL COMMENTS AND ATTEND UPCOMING PUBLIC HEARINGS ON FEB. 11 AND 12!
REASONS TO OPPOSE THE PROPOSAL
The area encompassing Mosquito Lagoon, the northern reaches of the Indian River Lagoon, the Canaveral National Seashore and Merritt Island National Wildlife Refuge are essentially the most pristine lands and waters left along Florida’s east coast. The area is also essential habitat for many birds and aquatic animals, some of which are endangered or federally protected. A large number of anglers, hunters, bird watchers, manatee watchers, paddlers and other wildlife and outdoor enthusiasts consider the area a prime destination for their avocations. The economic benefit from those enthusiasts to the State of Florida and those who live in the vicinity is immense, which is to say nothing of the tremendous recreational benefits conferred upon those enthusiasts by experiencing the area in what is largely its natural condition.
The Mosquito Lagoon is one of Florida’s premier saltwater fishing areas. Anglers from all over the world come to fly fish for huge redfish in the clear shallow waters of the Lagoon. The refuge has issued permits for 71 fishing guides in the Refuge.
Kennedy Space Center (KSC) sits nearby and the fate of much of its facilities is unknown. Recently, several capable launch facilities have been used. In fact, one was used by a potential beneficiary of the proposed Shiloh site, Space X, which recently launched a rocket and spacecraft from KSC. NASA began exploring ways to increase future commercial use of the Shuttle Landing Facility at KSC well before the end of the Shuttle Program. Unfortunately, this is not the first time this area has been proposed for a new launch site. In 2008, NASA itself proposed 2 alternative new launch sites very near Shiloh. At the time, Coastal Conservation Association of Florida and other groups protested loudly, imploring NASA to find a way to use the facilities at KSC rather than impose the enormously adverse environmental impacts a new launch facility would have created. That proposal by NASA did not proceed, nor should this one.
The current assessment is poorly designed and absurd. All of the proposed sites are in the same area – Shiloh. The most obvious alternative locations, the unused sites in the Kennedy Space Center and the Canaveral Air Force Base in Brevard County, are not even included! At previous hearings Space Florida assured many speakers that the environmental analysis would include a number of different options including the idle sites in Brevard County. However, throughout the process Space Florida has remained tightly focused on the Shiloh area in the Merritt Island NWR.
The development of the Shiloh site seems questionable in light of the tremendous impact the proposed launch complex would have – construction and post-development traffic and their attendant noise, smoke and heat from the launches, and storm water runoff, among them. What of access by the public to nearby lands and waters, including the Mosquito Lagoon and the Intracoastal Waterway? This heavily travelled waterway would be closed before, during and after launches. The Federal Register Notice states that Space Florida “proposes to construct and operate a commercial space launch site (The Shiloh Launch Complex) and two offsite operations support areas. The Shiloh Launch Complex would include two vertical launch facilities that could accommodate up to 24 launches per year, as well as up to 24 static fire engine tests or wet dress rehearsals per year. The launch vehicles would include liquid fueled, medium to heavy-lift class orbital and suborbital vehicles. In addition to the 24 launches per year, the first stage of the launch vehicle could return to and land at the Shiloh Launch Complex.”
Such impacts and the aesthetic degradation will lead to declining visits by the anglers, birders and other outdoor enthusiasts, which could then result in the loss of existing jobs. Why not avoid all of this and find a way to use the existing facilities at KSC?
Supporters of the plan argue that the Governor is being strong in his push for jobs and economic benefits for Florida. However, opponents point out that the jobs and economic benefits of placing the launch facilities in Shiloh can be achieved by placing the project in Brevard County at Kennedy Space Center or at the Canaveral AFB. This will result in a victory for jobs and the economy and a victory for the protection of this valuable environmental area and habitat.
PLEASE ACT NOW! THE PUBLIC HEARINGS WILL BE HELD AT NEW SMYRNA BEACH HIGH SCHOOL AT 5 PM FEBRUARY 11 AND AT THE EASTERN FLORIDA STATE COLLEGE TITUSVILLE CAMPUS AT 5 PM FEBRUARY 12.
EMAIL COMMENTS MUST BE RECEIVED BY FEBRUARY 21. Send them to
In addition your email should be copied to our U.S. Senators Bill Nelson at and Senator Marco Rubio and your Congressional Representative whose address you can get at:
https://www.senate.gov/general/contact_information/senators cfm.cfm and https://www.house.gov/representatives/find/ .