A secret project that was creating a massive terminal for Chinese cargo to come to the United States through the port of Long Beach was suspended, officials told FoxNews.com.
The announcement came as the U.S. Commerce Department is holding a competition to build a $13 billion headquarters for its Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM), which oversees the energy industry’s offshore development.
The plans for the Chinese terminal reportedly were never completed because the project didn’t come to fruition. In addition, sources told FoxNews.com that the Chinese port that was supposed to be part of the project also didn’t come to fruition.
“In late 2017, there was a plan in place that would have brought the China Shipping Terminal to Long Beach, Calif.,” Long Beach City Manager Pat West said in a statement to FoxNews.com on Friday. “Unfortunately, it went away before construction commenced. It is disappointing that the project failed to receive City Council approval.”
When asked if the collapse of the project left an opportunity for China to get into the U.S. shipping market, West told FoxNews.com, “Absolutely.”
Meanwhile, sources told FoxNews.com that BOEM was keeping an eye on the project at the time, and that there were some security concerns that involved the number of trucks traveling through Long Beach. BOEM officials apparently didn’t want to know what was going on because Long Beach officials weren’t telling them.
Officials told FoxNews.com that they were simply trying to conduct business in a transparent way, and that they didn’t want to appear to be discriminating against an American company.
In 2018, some U.S. senators, including a bipartisan group from the Louisiana, Florida and California sent a letter to BOEM questioning the project. Sen. Roger Wicker (R-Miss.) said it was unfortunate that BOEM, which had spent more than $400,000 on planning the terminal, chose to go forward with the development without adequate support from Long Beach city officials.
Two lobbying firms were hired by BOEM, Winning Strategies LLC and Windsor International Associates, which are part of lobbying firm Zachry & Company and the law firm McCue & Thompson, respectively.
Sen. Jeff Flake (R-Ariz.) was one of the senators who cited the cancellation of the project as an example of overreach by the Commerce Department.
“The scuttling of this potentially dangerous scheme by the Trump administration is a good move,” he said in a statement. “This development is a concrete example of how the Trump Administration is prioritizing security. The Government Accountability Office has rightfully raised concerns about transparency within BOEM. They have already scored a major win with legislation requiring more transparency, which the Administration plans to sign into law soon.”