When news broke last week that President Obama was blocking the sale of four Oregon wind farms to a Chinese company, the reason he gave was interesting:
There is credible evidence that leads me to believe that Ralls Corporation (Ralls), a corporation organized under the laws of Delaware, and its subsidiaries … might take action that threatens to impair the national security of the United States.
Initial speculation focused on the presence of a nearby naval base — but beyond that, the decision is something of a mystery.
Unsurprisingly, the company disagrees with the president’s assessment.
A Chinese-owned firm in the US is suing President Barack Obama after he blocked a wind farm deal on national security grounds. … The lawsuit alleges the US government overstepped its authority. …
China’s state-run news agency Xinhua said “China-bashing” in order “to woo some blue-collar voters” was the reason for the decision.
That explanation seems unlikely. Blue-collar workers aren’t concerned about Chinese companies hiring in America; they’re concerned about Chinese companies hiring in China. Chinese-owned companies employ 27,000 people in the United States, and if that figure increased, it probably wouldn’t upset too many people.
The Oregon wind farms weren’t the only ones on the auction block recently. A subsidiary of Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway purchased two farms north of Los Angeles. Buffett is probably safe from being considered a threat to national security — unless his advocacy for increased taxes on the wealthy begins to gain traction.
Get Grist in your inbox