The Trump Organization won approval on Thursday to build a wall it has sought for more than a year ― not along the U.S.-Mexico border, but on a golf course in the west of Ireland.
The Trump International Golf Links and Hotel Doonbeg, one of several golf courses owned by President Donald Trump’s business empire, was given the go ahead to construct two sea walls along the border of the property to protect the land from coastal erosion. The 2,000-foot and 850-foot barriers are dramatically scaled down from original plans to build a 1.7-mile structure, which was rejected by local county officials a year ago.
Environmentalists and other opponents of the walls have warned they could damage protected wildlife areas.
Eamon Ryan, leader of Ireland’s Green Party, expressed disappointment Thursday over the approval of the walls. He said they “will interfere with the natural circulation of the dune system. Local jobs would be better protected by adjusting the course to the evolving natural world.”
County officials will accept appeals to the project over the next four weeks, and local media report several environmental groups, including Friends of the Irish Environment, plan to oppose the walls.
The Trump Organization has spent $330 million to acquire and develop golf course since it started such projects in 1997, according to Reuters. Trump has often sparked controversy in defense of his courses, including an instance where he sent a letter to a Scottish minister calling proposed wind farms near one of them “monsters.”
To pitch the wall proposals for his Ireland property, Trump’s company argued that much of sand dune along the edge of the golf course had been eroded by the ocean over the past 15 years, according to The Journal, a local news outlet.
As part of the application, golf course officials argued that the effects of global warming, including a rise in sea levels, would increase coastal erosion rates.
“In our view, it could reasonably be expected that the rate of sea level rise might become twice of that presently occurring,” a statement obtained by Politico said. “As a result, we would expect the rate of dune recession to increase.”
Trump himself is a noted climate change denier, calling the phenomenon a “hoax” manufactured by the Chinese. His administration moved to withdraw the U.S. from the landmark Paris climate agreement earlier this year.