Donald Trump may be leading in the GOP primary polls in the U.S., but he just lost a major battle in the U.K.
The billionaire businessman has been fighting to prevent the construction of a wind farm off the coast of Aberdeen, Scotland, since 2013. And on Wednesday, Britain’s Supreme Court ruled unanimously against Trump, who had argued in his lawsuit that the Scottish government’s approval of the 11-turbine farm was invalid.
Trump has maintained that the wind farm, if constructed, would ruin the view of a luxury golf course he owns near the planned site of the farm. The Scottish government approved plans for the wind farm in 2013, and since then, Trump’s challenge had lost twice in Scottish courts.
“This is an extremely unfortunate verdict for the residents of Aberdeen and anyone who cares about Scotland’s economic future,” the Trump Organization told the BBC. “History will judge those involved unfavourably and the outcome demonstrates the foolish, small-minded and parochial mentality which dominates the current Scottish government’s dangerous experiment with wind energy.”
The Supreme Court rejection is good news for the wind farm, but the battle over the development may not be over: Trump’s group said it would “continue to fight this proposal on every possible front.”
In response, Alex Salmond, who was the first minister of Scotland up until a year ago, spoke frankly of the “damaging impact” of Trump’s fight against the wind farm.
“These proceedings have been dragged out for years through three successive court judgements by Donald Trump as he tried to stop an offshore Aberdeen wind turbine demonstrator by means of legal action,” he said. “The offshore project could have been built by now with Aberdeen benefiting from becoming the offshore wind research center of Europe — a vital development at a time of rock bottom oil prices.”
The Scottish wind farm isn’t the only wind development that Trump has opposed. He has also fiercely fought against a nine-turbine wind farm along Ireland’s Atlantic coast — a wind farm that, like the Scottish development, would have been in the view of a golf course Trump owns in Ireland. That wind development ended up being scrapped, not because of Trump’s objections, but because it would endanger a protected species of freshwater mussel.
Trump, as well as being a staunch defender of his golf courses’ views, is also a longtime-denier of climate change. He’s called climate change a “hoax” and regularly uses snow and cold weather to cast doubt on the fact that the planet is warming. Ironically, however, financial disclosures show that Trump has invested in Nextera, an electricity supplier that calls itself one of the world’s largest generators of wind power.
And despite his anti-wind battles in Scotland and Ireland, Trump softened his stance on wind while he was campaigning in Iowa — a state that’s a leader in the U.S. in terms of wind generation. When asked by an Iowan if he supports tax credits for the industry, Trump said, “Well, I’m ok with it,” adding that when oil prices are as low as they are, “you need subsidies.”