Story at a glance

  • Elon Musk’s company SpaceX has a development and launching site near the community of Boca Chica, Texas.
  • In a twitter thread, one writer detailed how residents have been affected by the company’s activity.
  • Testing and activity has continued during the coronavirus pandemic, while much of the country is shut down.

Elon Musk has been praised for his business acumen and success, with the President even referring to him as "one of our great geniuses." But at least one of his neighbors is less impressed by the billionaire and his latest ambitions. 

Rachel Monroe, a writer based in Marfa, Texas, posted a thread to Twitter on May 21 about SpaceX, Musk's aerospace manufacturer and space transportation services company, and its operations in Boca Chica. 

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A number of companies have bought up land in Texas in order to launch aerospace ventures in recent years. SpaceX arrived in Texas in 2014, with support from the state government, not far from the quiet community of Boca Chica, which had just 26 residents as of the 2000 census. In a report on Feb. 7, Esquire detailed the saga of SpaceX’s presence in the area and the affect on the local community. 

“We are working with the residents of Boca Chica Village because we think over time it’s going to be quite disruptive,” Musk said at an event, according to Esquire. “The actual danger is low to Boca Chica Village, but it’s not tiny. So therefore, we want super-tiny risk. So probably over time it’s better to buy out the villagers.”


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In the years since, bright lights and noise from construction and trucks have become a regular disturbance for neighbors, Monroe said. Access to the public beach and state highways is shut off during testing, which has continued into the pandemic. 

"What does this mean? A sheriff’s deputy bangs on your door at 10pm and tells you there’s a rocket test that night between 3-4am. Now, this is a mile from your house. And every previous rocket has blown up," Monroe tweeted, saying tests have been occurring nearly every night since May 3. "So you can either cross your fingers that nothing bad happens, or grab your pets and try to find somewhere safe to hunker down at night in the middle of the pandemic."

Musk has sought to buy up local homes, intending to build a prototype village of his own adjacent to the development and launch site, but some residents and retirees have reportedly refused to move.

“They don’t want us here because it’s costing them money to have us here. But we were here first,” one resident told Esquire. This is where we thought we were going to live until we died.”

The initial tweet by Monroe, which was retweeted more than 7,000 times by that evening, had about 17,200 likes and a couple hundred replies. 

“It's infuriating. There are SO few places like Boca Chica left. It's beautiful, undeveloped, beloved by locals, part of a key wildlife corridor. A place where ppl w/out a lot of money can live near the beach. And Elon Musk has just taken it over because he wants it," Monroe tweeted.


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Published on May 21, 2020