U.S. Air Force: Fufeng Grand Forks Project Presents Threat to National Security

Grand Forks Mayor Requests Project Be Stopped, Pending City Council Approval

WASHINGTON, D.C. (KVRR) — A U.S. Air Force assistant secretary says the force’s position on Fufeng’s project in Grand Forks is unambiguous: it presents a significant threat to national security.

That was in a letter to Sen. John Hoeven by Andrew P. Hunter, Assistant Secretary of the Air Force for Acquisition, Technology & Logistics.

He wrote the project presents both “near- and long-term risks of significant impacts to our operations in the area.”

The Chinese food manufacturer recently bought 370 acres of land to build a corn milling plant.

The land is about 12 miles from Grand Forks Air Force Base.

Hoeven says Grand Forks city leaders have asked for clarity from leaders in the federal government regarding the Fufeng project.

Hoeven and Sen. Kevin Cramer said in a joint statement that they believe the city should discontinue the Fufeng project and instead work together to find an American company to develop the agriculture project.

“Well city leaders from the beginning have been asking for clarity from leaders in the federal government,” said Cramer.

“Now I personally believe that we should be strategically severing our ties with China it’s been my position for a long time. And inserting them further into our critical supply chains, in particular close proximity to our national defense assets is exactly the opposite of that.”

In December, the federal agency tasked with reviewing the project determined that the land acquisition was not a “covered transaction” and they do not have jurisdiction.

The Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States announced it will not be taking any further action.

The Treasury Department even announced that it will refund the filing fee.

Construction on the project was paused while the city waited for its response.

Grand Forks Mayor Brandon Bochenski has issued the following statement:

“The City of Grand Forks (City) has continued to operate in good faith over the last 16 months of due diligence while awaiting an official response from the Federal Government.  Construction was paused during the review by the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS), which ultimately concluded that Fufeng USA’s (Project) acquisition of property in the City was not within the jurisdictional purview of the national security agency.  The Federal Government has requested the City’s help in stopping the Project as geo-political tensions have greatly increased since the initial announcement of the Project.  The only remedies the City has to meet this directive is to refuse to connect industrial infrastructure and deny building permits.  As Mayor of the City of Grand Forks, I am requesting these remedies be undertaken and the Project be stopped, pending City Council approval.  These actions do not affect the land ownership as the company will still legally own the land they have purchased.  The response from the Federal Government during this process can only be viewed as slow and contradictory.  This directive leaves open the question of other entities with Chinese connections across the nation, to include Grand Forks’ Cirrus Aircraft site location and Chinese students and professors at the University of North Dakota.

I want to thank Senators John Hoeven and Kevin Cramer, and Representative Kelly Armstrong for their continued support throughout the process.  Governor Burgum and the State of North Dakota have been great and steadfast partners in the vetting and undertaking of these types of major and challenging projects for the benefit of our great State of North Dakota.  I am thankful for the work done by the City to lay out a long and thorough review process that allowed for the utmost due diligence.  As always, our commitment to the Grand forks Air Force Base has never been stronger and we look forward to the future.”

Gov. Doug Burgum issued a statement saying, in-part, ” Given these concerns, we support the decision by the City of Grand Forks to initiate steps to stop the project with Fufeng Group and will support the city in finding another partner for a corn milling operation.”

Categories: Agriculture, Agriculture, Local News, North Dakota News