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SunZia Transmission Line, Central NM to AZ

STATUS: In progress, with opposition

TYPE: Transmission Line

OPPOSITION: Socorro County Board of Commissioners, Friends of the Bosque del Apache National Wildlife Reserve, Local Residents

PROSPECTS: Indeterminate

BACKGROUND: The SunZia Southwest Transmission Project is a 460 mile high capacity 500 kilovolt (kV) transmission line (or two parallel lines) across New Mexico and Arizona.  At an estimated cost of $406,250,000, the project will connect and deliver renewable energy resources in New Mexico and Arizona to population centers in the Desert Southwest.  Several national and local environmental groups oppose various proposed routes for the project, as well as the potential that the line will deliver energy from the gas-fired Bowie Power Station.  For example, the Socorro County Board of Commissioners opposes the proposed SunZia Transmission route because of the potential impact on wildlife, property values, and general aesthetics along the path.  Friends of the Bosque del Apache National Wildlife Refuge opposed the project because of its possible impact of the power lines on migratory birds, specifically the sandhill cranes.

The permitting process continues. There was a 45-day public scoping period ending on June 10, 2010.  In the spring of 2011, the Draft Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) will be completed and made available for review.  The project is currently scheduled to be completed in 2014.

SOURCES: BLM: http://www.blm.gov/nm/st/en/prog/more/lands_realty/sunzia_southwest_transmission.html;
BLM Scoping Report: http://www.blm.gov/pgdata/etc/medialib/blm/nm/programs/more/lands_and_realty/sunzia/sunzia_scoping_report.Par.81793.File.dat/Scoping%20Report_Body.pdf;
Project Main Page: http://www.sunzia.net/project_information.php;
6/22/2010 Board of County Commissioners Resolution: http://www.sunzia.net/documents_pdfs/socorro_county_res_6_22_2010.pdf;
Mountain Mail Newspaper: http://mountainmail.blogspot.com/2009/07/friends-of-bosque-respond-to-sunzias.html;
Alamogordo Daily News: http://www.istockanalyst.com/article/viewiStockNews/articleid/3596284

Last Updated:  November 23, 2010