As SpaceX and the FAA work towards closing out the Starship/Super Heavy Environmental Assessment, more details have been released. Transcripts from the two virtual public hearings about the PEA were released along with an estimated timeline for the Final Programmatic Environmental Assessment being released. This date is currently December 31, 2021.
SpaceX is currently working with the FAA with the Programmatic Environmental Assessment (PEA) for the orbital operations of Starship/Super Heavy. The draft PEA was released in September 2021 for public review and comment. Two virtual hearings were held, one on October 18 and another on October 20. The transcripts for these hearings are now available: October 18 – October 20. Along with the release of these transcripts was the announcement of an estimated timeline that shows December 31, 2021, is the release date for the final PEA. The FAA does point out that the release of the final PEA will either be a Finding of No Significant Impact (FONSI) or a decision to initiate an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS). To learn more about the environmental review process, click here.
The FAA has posted the SpaceX Starship/Super Heavy Programmatic Environmental Assessment (PEA) Project Schedule on the Federal Infrastructure Permitting Dashboard (Permitting Dashboard) and project website, linked here. The PEA Start Date of July 1, 2021 denotes the date of determination to prepare a PEA. The FAA noted in an email to interested parties on November 23, 2020 that the agency was at the beginning stages of conducting an environmental review of SpaceX’s Starship/Super Heavy proposal and then opened a scoping period to identify issues for analysis in a draft environmental review. While SpaceX has worked with the FAA to prepare a draft Environmental Assessment (EA) since March 2021, the FAA did not make a determination to proceed with a PEA until sufficient information was received on the full scope of the proposed project, including vehicle landings for the Starship/Super Heavy.
Included on the Permitting Dashboard are dates for the special purpose law consultations. The FAA has been working with agencies on an ongoing basis since the 2014 SpaceX Environmental Impact Statement. Consultations started early in the planning process and helped to inform the determination to prepare a PEA.
As indicated on the Permitting Dashboard, the FAA anticipates issuing a Final PEA on December 31, 2021. The Final PEA will include a Finding of No Significant Impact or decision to initiate an Environmental Impact Statement.
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