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Release Date: 05/29/12
Contacts: Bill Merhege, 505, 690-1727    
  Adrian Garcia 505.954.2199    

BLM Releases Draft Environmental Impact Statement and Resource Management Plan Amendments for the SunZia Southwest Transmission Line Project

-90 Day Public Comment Period Begins-

Santa Fe, NM–The Bureau of Land Management is seeking public input on the draft Environmental Impact Statement (Draft EIS) for the SunZia Southwest Transmission Line Project in New Mexico and Arizona.  A Notice of Availability for the DEIS was published in the Federal Register on May 29, 2012.  Comments about the proposed project will be accepted until August 22, 2012.

SunZia Transmission, LLC, proposes to construct, operate, and maintain two parallel overhead 500 kilovolt transmission lines located on Federal, State, and private lands from the proposed SunZia East Substation in Lincoln County, New Mexico, to the existing Pinal Central Substation in Pinal County, Arizona.  The length of the transmission lines would range from 460 miles to more than 500 miles depending on which route alignment is selected.  The project has the potential to add 3,000 to 4,500 megawatts of added electric capacity to the desert southwest region of the United States.

The Draft EIS provides a comprehensive analysis of potential environmental impacts that could result from project development.  Release of the draft plan follows an extensive public involvement process initiated by the BLM in 2009 to identify relevant issues and concerns.  “The BLM has been working with its cooperating agencies to respond to the issues raised by the public,” said Bill Merhege, BLM’s Deputy State Director for Lands and Resources.  “We feel the Draft EIS provides for a balanced approach to resolving these planning issues.”

The BLM will host several public meetings in Arizona and New Mexico during a 90-day public comment period.  Project specialists will be available at the meetings to provide information about the Draft EIS and to answer questions about the proposed project.  All interested parties are encouraged to attend the meetings which will be announced at least 15 days prior to their scheduled date at locations to be determined.

The Draft EIS, and other information about the project, is available from the project website at or by contacting the BLM Project Lead Adrian Garcia at 505.954.2199.

The BLM manages more than 245 million acres of public land, the most of any Federal agency. This land, known as the National System of Public Lands, is primarily located in 12 Western states, including Alaska. The BLM also administers 700 million acres of sub-surface mineral estate throughout the nation. The BLM's mission is to sustain the health, diversity, and productivity of America’s public lands for the use and enjoyment of present and future generations. In Fiscal Year 2015, the BLM generated $4.1 billion in receipts from activities occurring on public lands.

Last updated: 01-08-2013