22 August 2012– Today, the Coalition for Sonoran Desert Protection submitted comments to the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) on the proposed SunZia Transmission Line. The Coalition believes that the balance of theoretical benefits of this proposal do not outweigh the considerable long term, if not permanent, negative environmental impacts of developing and operating the proposed SunZia Transmission Line, thus the Coalition has asked the BLM to select the No Action Alternative for this project.
SunZia proposes to construct two parallel high capacity 500-kilovolt (kV) transmission lines that would span between 460 and 542 miles across federal, state, and private lands between central New Mexico and central Arizona. The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) is the lead federal agency for this project, while the project applicant, SunZia Transmission, LLC is a private company.
In its comments, the Coalition highlighted deficiencies in the DEIS with regard to impacts to the Sonoran Desert Conservation Plan. The BLM’s preferred alternative for the power line travels directly through the San Pedro River Valley which supports the last major free flowing river in the desert southwest, the main migratory corridor for neo-tropical birds in the West, and the greatest diversity of mammal species in North America.
Additionally, the Coalition supports the comprehensive and detailed comments submitted by our member groups regarding the DEIS – those comments submitted by Defenders of Wildlife, Sky Island Alliance, Tucson Audubon Society, Sierra Club – Grand Canyon Chapter. These comments and more can be found below and online.
The Coalition also expressed concern regarding the quality and nature of the public process that has been conducted by the BLM for the SunZia project to date. As such, the BLM should provide additional opportunities for meaningful public engagement leading up to the Final EIS, so as to comply with the intent and purpose of NEPA.
Comment letters from other Coalition member groups:
Power Push – Tucson Weekly article from August 22nd, 2012 about the BLM process related to this project.