Donald Trump plans to build what according to him will be "the greatest golf course in the world" at the Menie Estate in Scotland.
This morning, he made a case for the $2 billion golf resort to local residents and concerned environmental planners during a public inquiry in the nearby city of Aberdeen.
The real-estate mogul-turned-reality star was met with opposition from environmentalists concerned about the legally protected site and local residents like Michael Forbes, who has refused to sell his family’s aging farm located at the center of the estate to the Trump Organization for $690,000.
The Aberdeenshire Council rejected plans for 900 time-share apartments, a hotel, and luxury homes last year as environmentalists were concerned about building a course on a stretch of shifting sand dunes that are home to some of the country’s rarest wildlife, including skylarks, kittiwakes, badgers and otters. But Scotland’s tourism agencies and local business owners are in favor of the development as it will bring jobs and funding to the area.
Donald’s response to environmental concerns?
"People won’t play a course if it is environmentally harmful. They don’t like it, they don’t feel good about it and they won’t play it," he said.
Trump told the audience at the hearing that he knew more about the environment than his consultants and admitted that he had not read the environmental reports he commissioned.
"I would consider myself an environmentalist in the true sense of the word," Trump said, adding that the sand dunes would benefit from being turned into a golf course as it would stabilize them and protect them against storms.
Mr. Trump also visited his mother’s childhood home on the Isle of Lewis, telling reporters, "If it weren’t for my mother would I have walked away from this site? I think probably I would have, yes. Possibly, had my mother not been born in Scotland, I probably wouldn’t have started it."
The panel will make a decision sometime in July. In the meantime, Mr. Trump said, "I think we’re swaying them."