President Obama, citing national security risks, ordered a Chinese company on Friday to divest its interest in four wind farm projects near a Navy base in northern Oregon where training missions for drone aircraft are conducted.
Mr. Obama, on a recommendation from the federal Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States, issued an order prohibiting the acquisition and ownership of the wind farms by the Ralls Corporation, and directing the company to divest the interest it acquired in the farms this year. Ralls is owned by Chinese nationals and is affiliated with a Chinese construction equipment company that makes wind turbines.
The wind farm sites are near the restricted airspace at a naval weapons training facility that is used to test remotely piloted drones and electronic warfare aircraft that accompany American bombers on missions and can jam radar.
The president has the power to void foreign transactions under the Defense Production Act, which authorizes the president to suspend or prohibit certain acquisitions of American businesses if there is credible evidence that the foreign purchaser might take action that threatens to impair national security.
In 1990, President George Bush, acting on a case referred by the foreign-investments committee, blocked the sale of an American aircraft manufacturing company to a Chinese agency.
Obama administration officials said the timing of the order had nothing to do with politics. They said the president was obligated under the law to act once the committee sent the case to him.
The committee’s timeline “is determined by statute,” a Treasury Department official said.
Source: New York Times