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Take Action: Save Merritt Island National Wildlife Refuge

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Join Audubon at public hearings in New Smyrna Beach and Titusville to say NO to rocket launch sites in our refuge!

The greatest threat to any National Wildlife Refuge yet to emerge in Florida will be the subject of public hearings on February 11 in New Smyrna Beach and February 12 in Titusville. It is urgent that everyone who watches birds in the refuge, kayaks in Mosquito Lagoon, or visits the beaches of Canaveral National Seashore attend these important hearings. The meeting format will include an open house workshop from 5:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m. The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) will provide an overview of the environmental process from 6:00 p.m. to 6:15 p.m. followed by a public comment period from 6:15 p.m. to 8:00 p.m.

The threat to the refuge is being caused by Space Florida, a state economic development agency trying to stake its claim as a player in the U.S. Space Program.

Space Florida wants its own 200 acre rocket launch site some 10 miles north of the traditional NASA launch pads. It claims that private industry space companies can’t work with NASA, and won't utilize surplus property sites already being offered by NASA to private space launch companies. Space Florida’s claims make little sense, since it is well know that SpaceX, the largest private space launch company, is already openly seeking to locate facilities at NASA’s old launch pads.

If established, a 200 acre launch site at the very north end of Merritt Island National Wildlife refuge would close much of the refuge to public access frequently during the year. The trajectory of rockets launched from that site (24 launches per year are projected) would cause rockets to fly directly over parts of the refuge where rocket launch trajectories have never caused public closures before. The closures would impactsports fishing in Mosquito Lagoon and access to Canaveral National Seashore beaches as well.

Public Hearings

February 11, 20145:00pm to 8:00pm
New Smyrna Beach High School Gymnasium,[masked]th Street,
New Smyrna Beach, Florida 32168

February 12, 20145:00pm to 8:00pm
Eastern Florida State College, Titusville Campus
John Henry Jones Gymnatorium,
1311 North U.S. 1,
Titusville, Florida 32796

Beyond the issue of public closures, serious impacts to important habitat for over 500 species of birds, fish, and wildlife, some 66 of which are listed by federal and state governments as endangered, threatened, or otherwise imperiled. The rocket launch site would likely wipe out efforts by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to conduct controlled burns to manage habitat for Florida Scrub-Jays. The extensive investments already made for in habitat restoration for Scrub-Jays in the northern part of the refuge would likely be wasted.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has issued extensive comments documenting the dangers to the refuge, public access, and wildlife habitat, click here for more information (http://fl.audubonaction.org/site/R?i=n7SN_h3wXF_Z-gKAt5wCgQ).

Please help us save Merritt Island National Wildlife Refuge, Mosquito Lagoon, and Canaveral National Seashore from this destructive and totally unnecessary proposal. Your comments at the hearings are urgently needed - please share this important alert!