New federal rule moves to protect military bases from nearby land sales to foreign actors

Jul 10, 2024 | Politics | 0 comments

In the wake of several controversies involving foreign actors attempting land purchases near sensitive U.S. bases, a new federal rule will expand a Treasury committee’s ability to control the transactions.

Lawmakers in Florida, North Dakota and elsewhere have long sounded the alarm over Chinese companies in particular, and now the Biden administration is taking steps to potentially make it more difficult for such purchases to go through.

The rule utilizes a 2018 law that gives the Treasury’s Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS) broader authority to study the implications of foreign investment in real estate transactions and asset transfers.

Nearly 60 military installations or related properties will be provided further protections under the new rule.

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Some of the major installations cited include Joint Base Myer-Henderson Hall (formerly Fort Myer) in Arlington, Va., Letterkenny Army Depot in Chambersburg, Pa., Cold Bay Regional Radar Site and Naval Support Facility Ketchikan in Alaska, Pueblo Chemical Depot in Colorado, Camp Blaz in Dededo, Guam and the Naval Logistics Support Annex in Okahumpka, Fla.

The latter was likely a concern of Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, R-Fla., prior to the passage of three landmark state laws aimed at curbing Chinese influence in the state.

One of those laws prohibits Chinese citizens “domiciled” in that country from purchasing Florida land. As of April, however, that law has been embroiled in a court challenge.

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DeSantis’ office did not respond to a request for comment, but said at the time the laws “make it very clear we don’t want CCP influence in the Sunshine State.”

In another case out of North Dakota, a land purchase for a Chinese company’s corn mill near Grand Forks Air Force Base was halted amid outcry from the state’s two Republican senators.

Sens. John Hoeven and Kevin Cramer had warned the transaction could be a “significant threat to national security.”

The Treasury previously stipulated in a May 2023 rule that foreign purchasers need federal approval to buy land near eight military sites, in the wake of the Grand Forks controversy.

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Fox News Digital also reached out to Alaska officials, as nearly a dozen of the newly-qualified installations are in the Last Frontier.

While the Treasury and CFIUS did not respond to requests for comment, Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen heralded the new rule in comments to the Associated Press.

The Biden administration is “committed to using our strong investment screening tool to defend America’s national security, including actions that protect military installations from external threats,” Yellen said.

The Treasury’s move comes one week after the White House released an order that halted a Chinese cryptocurrency firm’s planned purchase near Francis E. Warren Air Force Base in Cheyenne, Wyoming.

The Treasury released a rule on Wednesday that will allow more regulation of real estate transactions within certain mileage of sensitive or military installations.[#item_full_content]

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