American tycoon Donald Trump has a personal connection with Scotland that goes beyond his plans to develop a 5-star resort on the Scottish coast.
His mother, Mary MacLead, was born in Scotland and immigrated to the United States at the age of 20. Trump outlines his Scottish heritage on his Trump International-Scotland website, where he says that his mother’s first language was Gaelic prior to her relocation to the United States.
So perhaps this is one reason why he has been vigorously pursuing plans to develop a $1.2 billion resort near Aberdeen despite a weak global economy and a lengthy battle with local residents, councillors and environmental groups that are adamantly opposed to the development. These opponents are concerned with the impact Trump’s resort will have on legally protected rare dunes in the area.
Trump is firing back, stating that he authorized his staff to “launch an international campaign” to fight a plan to develop thousands of wind turbines off of the Scottish coast.
The 11 64-story turbines are a huge threat in Trump’s mind: “With the reckless installation of these monsters, you will single-handedly have done more damage to Scotland than virtually any event in Scottish history.” He later referred to the turbines as “ugly monstrosities” and said that the international manufacturing community was “laughing” at the Scottish government’s assertion that the wind turbines will bring jobs to the country, since the turbines would likely by produced in China.
According to the Scottish government, the coastline waters ”are estimated to have as much as a quarter of Europe’s potential offshore wind energy. A recent study suggests that harnessing just a third of the practical resource off our coast by 2050 would enable us to generate enough electricity to power Scotland seven times over…. An independent Scotland will be able to take full responsibility for this renewables revolution, along with the investment and thousands of jobs it brings.”
Trump is scornful of the Scottish government’s claims; he told the BBC that “taxing your citizens to subsidize wind projects owned by foreign energy companies will destroy your country and its economy.”
Some believe that Trump is just using the offshore wind debate as an excuse to abandon his resort plans all together, as reported by the Guardian last month. If completed, the resort complex (which would include 2 golf courses, a five-star hotel, luxury villas and timeshare apartments) would create 7,000 jobs for the region.
Trump brushed off the allegations, saying, “”Please understand that I am doing this to save Scotland.”