Two West Texas ranches are suing ERCOT over a wind farm project that had connections to a billionaire in communist China.
Texas attorney Dallas J. Barrington filed a lawsuit on behalf of Ward-Walker Seven Oaks Ranch and Cole Ranch against the Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT), GH America Investments Group (GHA), GH America Energy, and Greenalia Wind Power Blue Hills, for violating the Lone Star Infrastructure Protection Act (SB 2116), which became law in 2021.
ERCOT previously granted GH America, a subsidiary of China-based Xinjiang Guanghui Industry Investment Co., the ability to develop a 46-wind turbine project until the Texas legislature passed SB 2116 in April 2021. The act prohibits entities from China, Russia, Iran, and North Korea access to Texas’ critical infrastructure. However, ERCOT allowed the project to proceed. GHA, controlled by Xinjiang oligarch Sun Guangxin, acquired over 130,000 acres in the county with plans for wind and solar developments.
“As ERCOT refuses to follow the law and protect local power systems for our ranchers in Val Verde County, against Chinese developers, we have no choice but to turn to the District Court of Val Verde County, and respectfully request that ERCOT and other Defendants be made to abide by the laws of Texas,” said Dallas J. Barrington, Attorney for Cole Ranch Holdings, LLC, & Ward-Walker Seven Oaks, Ranch, LLC.
The lawsuit comes on the heels of groundswell local opposition to ERCOT’s decision to allow the project to proceed. The Devils River Conservancy (DRC), which played a pivotal role in the passage of the Lone Star Infrastructure Protection bill through their advocacy campaign, Don’t Blow It Texas, has partnered with the Lower Pecos Landowner Group (LPLG), The Nature Conservancy, and other local landowners, to express their opposition to the proposed wind farm development.
Supporters of the lawsuit emphasize that the proposed 46 turbines, at 700 feet in height, would not only impact local private properties and pose a national security risk due to concerns around foreign-owned companies’ connection to Texas’ power grid, but also negatively impact ecotourism from multiple state and federal parks and natural areas, impair archeological findings including historic cave paintings, and cause untold damage to bat roosts and migratory pathways of birds and Monarch butterflies.
“Conservation and protecting private property are extremely important to landowners in the Devils and Pecos River Canyons,” said Alice Ball Strunk, President of The Devils River Conservancy. “Val Verde County has already faced significant national security threats relating to border security. ERCOT violating its fiduciary duty creates an additional economic and ecological burden for private property owners, including local ranchers.”
“As we act as stewards to nurture and preserve this cherished land, this violation of the Lone Star Infrastructure Protection Act is deeply concerning and a threat to the ecological integrity of the region,” said James King, LPLG Member. “These preserved public and private lands create an intact, undisturbed landscape rich with ecological and cultural resources and we will continue to fight to protect them.”
Source: PR News Wire