The Orlando SentinelWASHINGTON — In the long-running battle between spaceships and scrub-jays, the birds appear to be gaining the upper wing.
For more than a year, the state has led a controversial effort to build a launchpad inside the Merritt Island National Wildlife Refuge, where the Florida scrub-jay lives with at least 15 other species that federal authorities consider threatened or endangered.
Environmentalists have fought the proposal for months, and now there are signs that the company the state was trying to lure — SpaceX of California — may go to Texas instead.
A federal review of the competing Texas site is near completion, and local media outlets have reported that SpaceX already has bought land in the area, though company officials did not confirm those transactions or respond to repeated requests seeking comment.
Though Florida officials admit that the state is an underdog in the fight, they contend that Spaceport Shiloh, named for an abandoned citrus town in the Cape Canaveral area, is worth fighting for — and not just for SpaceX.
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