On Tuesday, soon after President Joe Biden approved the nation’s first major offshore wind farm, ex-president Donald Trump issued a statement mocking the move.
The Vineyard Wind project approved by Mr Biden off the coast of Massachusetts would generate enough electricity to power at least 400,000 homes across the United States.
In a statement mocking his successor, Mr Trump said: “Congratulations to Martha’s Vineyard in Massachusetts for the privilege they will have in looking at massive windmills that have been approved by the Biden Administration and are being built, in China of course, as part of an extraordinarily large wind farm.”
He went on to claim without citing any particular eence that windmills kill birds, affect the sea, ruin the landscape, and create “disasters for navigation”. He did at last refrain from suggesting that they cause cancer, something he appeared to believe as recently as 2019.
It comes as Mr Biden’s Department of the Interior estimated that there would be some 2,000 turbines churning in the wind along the coast from Massachusetts to North Carolina by the end of the decade.
Mr Trump has had a stormy relationship with windmills and has spread misinformation about them over years. In 2019, Mr Trump went on a spiel about windmills at what the White House had billed as “America’s Energy Dominance and Manufacturing Revival” speech.
In the hour-long address, Mr Trump said: “When the wind stops blowing, it doesn’t make any difference does it? Unlike those big windmills that destroy everybody’s property values, kill all the birds. One day the environmentalists are going to tell us what’s going on with that. And then all of a sudden it stops. The wind and the televisions go off. And your wives and husbands say: ‘Darling, I want to watch Donald Trump on television tonight. But the wind stopped blowing and I can’t watch. There’s no electricity in the house, darling.’”
The Biden administration revived the Vineyard Wine project in March this year. The project, founded almost two decades ago, had faced a number of hurdles including opposition from waterfront property owners. The Trump administration later blocked the project’s permission process.
During his presidential campaign, Mr Biden promised to fight climate change by expanding clean energy sources to boost employment. The Vineyard Wind project alone is supposed to add 3,600 jobs.
Tom Kiernan, chief executive of the American Wind Energy Association, had in 2019 told the Washington Post when the then-president had expressed his hatred against windmills: “It’s hard to fully understand the motivation of the president. The wind industry is powering the economy in rural America.”
In his statement on Tuesday, Mr Trump said: “In any event, Martha’s Vineyard, an absolutely wonderful place, will never be the same. Good luck.”
The Vineyard Wind project is a joint venture of Oregon-headquartered Avangrid Renewables and Denmark-based Copenhagen Infrastructure Partners.
The $2.8bn project is expected to still face some opposition from commercial fishing groups and coastal landowners. Some environmental activists have also spoken out saying wind farms can harm marine life.