POSTED: Thursday, February 21, 2013 - 10:42am
UPDATED: Sunday, February 24, 2013 - 1:01am
CAMERON COUNTY, TEXAS (NEWS CENTER 23) — SpaceX, the privately owned company out of California could be launching off in the future from property near Boca Chica beach.
Brownsville, Florida, and Puerto Rico are in the running for the launch site.
"What we don't want is private industries and private corporations to come in and run our lands." said Cameron County resident David Ruiz.
David Ruiz is part of the Cisneros family, and he claims the proposed SpaceX launch site is on that family's property.
"We we born and raised here and we love this area this is our own."
Ruiz says the land is protected by a 19th century treaty.
"Protected by the federal government through the Adams Onis treaty, it goes back to 1819 and my purpose here is we are trying to tell county government, the state, and city of Brownsville, that these lands are privately owned by the Cisneros family."
Dr. Anthony Knopp is a history professor at the University of Texas at Brownsville who is familiar with the Adams Onis treaty.
"What it had to do with was the acquisitions of Florida by the United States from Spain but part of the deal was boundaries would be established between what the Americans claimed was their territory and the Spanish claimed was their territory.
Knopp says his reading of the treaty indicates it would not affect land near Boca Chica beach.
"As far as I can tell there is nothing in this treaty in the basic major provisions that would have something to specific to do with this area, I am not excluding any provisions but I certainly never encountered anything." said Dr. Knopp.
Ruiz says he has gone to county leaders stating his case that his family owns the land.
"We told the county in one of their meetings that these lands are privately owned and they seem to not hear us or just turn the otherside."
We spoke with Cameron County Judge Carlos Cascos. He says Ruiz has approached him along with country commissioners. The judge says he has asked Ruiz and family to provide proof.
"Right now they have not provided any documentation, proof they have any legal rights to that property I called the tax assessor’s office this morning to see if they paid those taxes, that particular family they don't have any record of it, I am not saying they haven't, I am saying we don't have any proof that substantiates their claim."
Ruiz says he has not been asked to produce ownership documents. Ruiz adds says his family does not have to pay property taxes because they are paid by the state and federal government.