A week after September 11, 2001, I spoke with a disaster response expert about terrorist targets in Texas. The Houston Ship Channel, “with all these refineries,” was his first response. How to protect it? He said, “You tell me.”
In December 2020, Forbes magazine published an article by David Blackmon on the vulnerability of offshore oil and gas infrastructure to criminal and terrorist attacks.
Hackers and terrorists around the world regularly attack tankers and oil facilities. Nigeria is an example. Drug cartels have seized platforms in Mexican waters. Their thugs demand a ransom to put the platforms back into production and free the crews.
Blackmon is an expert in offshore vulnerabilities. “For Americans,” he wrote. . . damaged or attacked tankers and facilities seem like someone else’s problem. . . the fact is that these key assets and infrastructure are vulnerable to water and airborne assaults. Airborne includes drone strikes.
The Deepwater Horizon offshore platform debacle in 2010 cost BP around $ 70 billion and threatened the entire Louisiana coast. Terrorists and crooks could intentionally cause a Deepwater Horizon disaster.
The same would be true of an enemy nation-state. My 2001 Houston Ship Channel expert made this point.
In 2020, despite pandemic production cuts, Corpus Christi, Texas, held 55% of the U.S. crude export market share. The Corpus Canal in Port Aransas to the Gulf of Mexico can be blocked in several places. Close the Houston or Corpus Christi Link Canal, and America’s energy and chemical supplies are instantly blocked, with no enemy endangering naval forces. The entire American economy is suffering. The economic costs of the Colonial Pipeline cyberhack in May 2021 would be pale in comparison.
Who perceives our vulnerability? Communist China is doing it. China does not need an Atlantic navy to conduct the operation, just saboteurs in position.
So what do we do?
Some American leaders have real answers. At present, the most demonstrable resides in Texas.
It’s a legislative and executive fact, not a Texas Hollywood boast: Texas has begun to shoulder a defense burden that Biden Administration Beltway Washington (BABWA) has refused to bear.
Exhibit 1: Lone Star Infrastructure Protection Act, SB 2116, authored by Republican Senator Donna Campbell (mother of four and Texas Senate District 25 physician) and Representative Tan Parker, R-Flower Mound. The bill became law on June 18.
The jargon of the bureaucrats: “Regarding the prohibition of contracts or other agreements with certain foreign companies in connection with critical infrastructure in this state”.
Beyond the jargon, there is a serious national defense energy. About three years ago, a Chinese energy company bought about 130,000 acres near Laughlin Air Force Base, located near Del Rio, Texas. Thanks to the border fiasco of Haitian migrants of the Biden administration, Del Rio has national visibility. Laughlin is a field of the Air Training Command of the US Air Force. This makes neighboring lands a site for intelligence gathering.
But there is more ! The Chinese company, headed by billionaire Sun Guangxin (with close ties to the Chinese Communist Party), also wanted to build a wind farm. War bingo: The wind farm would have access to the American electricity grid.
Would the CCP hack the Texas power grid? I ask you.
When the bill became law, Parker said he sent “a clear message that we will not allow hostile foreign actors access to these vital parts of our great state.”
I recently read that mainland Chinese actors were trying to acquire land near Yuma, Arizona. It is a field close to the big league weapons testing and intelligence training sites.
Exhibit 2: Governor Greg Abbot’s Operation Lone Star. The official description: “directing state military and police resources to the border to assist local and federal authorities in combating human and drug trafficking across the border.”
Texas has a 1,254 mile border with Mexico.
On September 17, Abbott secured an additional $ 2 billion in state border defense funding.
After signing the bill, Abbott said, “It’s the job of the federal government to secure our border, but the Biden administration hasn’t done its job, so Texas is committed to doing what the federal government is supposed to do. “
For the record, Representative Chip Roy, R-Texas, drafted a national bill very similar to the Campbell-Parker Bill. Yours, Congressman Roy.
Austin Bay is a syndicated columnist and author.