Texas lawmakers have launched an all-out effort to block a Chinese billionaire from building a massive wind farm near Laughlin Air Force base in southwest Texas. The wind farm's close proximity to the military base has raised concerns about potential spying and attacks on the energy grid by China.
The Chinese-backed project called Blue Hills Wind, which could house up to 40 turbines in Val Verde County, Texas, is being managed by GH America Energy, the US subsidiary of the Chinese Guanghui Energy Company. The project sits on approximately 140,000 acres of land located about 70 miles from Laughlin.
According to American Military News, Guanghui is owned by Chinese billionaire Sun Guangxin, who reportedly has close relations with the ruling Chinese Communist Party.
The legislation called the "Protecting Military Installations and Ranges Act," was passed last month by a handful of lawmakers, Congressman Tony Gonzales (TX-23) today with Senators Cruz (R-TX) and Rubio (R-FL), and Congressmen Ronny Jackson (TX-13) and Pat Fallon (TX-04), to prevent foreign enemies from acquiring land near military bases.
Lawmaker's behind the bill are attempting to stop the Chinese billionaire from hooking into the Texas power grid and potentially spying for China.
"Our greatest concern is the long-term implications this will have on the Air Force's mission of pilot training not with a single application, but rather a cumulative strategy that cannot be evaluated in the first filing," Val Verde County Judge Lewis G. Owens Jr. and Del Rio Mayor Bruno Lozano wrote in a letter obtained by Foreign Policy. "We believe that this project and all future projects of a similar nature will result in unacceptable risk to the national security of the United States."
Meanwhile, the Committee on Foreign Investment in the US (CFIUS) authorized GH America Energy's Texas wind farm project in 2020. However, the lawmakers in the state are making sure the project is stopped.
Whatever the outcome is in Texas will certainly be a testament to the deteriorating Sino-US relations, even under a new US administration.
Last week, President Biden made his first public address to Congress. Speaking to the chamber, he frequently said his expansive domestic policy agenda is a call to confront Beijing in a battle of "democracy versus autocracy."