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Heinrich Applauds Approval of SunZia Southwest Transmission Line

U.S. Senator Martin Heinrich with U.S. Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell, and U.S. Congressman Ben Ray Luján. 

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. - Today, U.S. Senator Martin Heinrich (D-N.M.) joined U.S. Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell, U.S. Assistant Secretary of the Army for Installations, Energy and Environment Katherine Hammack, U.S. Congressman Ben Ray Luján, and senior Bureau of Land Management officials to announce the approval of the SunZia Southwest Transmission Line in New Mexico. The $2 billion infrastructure project will connect and deliver electricity generated in New Mexico and Arizona to population centers across the southwest.

"The SunZia transmission line will finally unlock New Mexico's stranded wind and solar resources and move that energy to market. This infrastructure investment will not only spur many permanent clean energy jobs in generation, but it will also put thousands of people to work on the construction of this line," said Sen. Heinrich. "I commend Secretary Jewell for her leadership and the tremendous work that all of the agencies involved in the review of SunZia have done to responsibly site this line and reach common ground along the way. But this isn't just about SunZia. This is about New Mexico diversifying its economy and building a prosperous clean energy future."

Senator Heinrich has long supported the SunZia transmission project. Last May, he welcomed the resolution between the U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) and U.S. Department of Interior to allow for the Bureau of Land Management's (BLM) preferred route for the transmission line. The resolution reached between DoD and BLM to allow for the project to move forward required that five miles of the route be buried to eliminate conflicts with training and weapons testing in the Northern Extension Area of White Sands Missile Range.

In November 2013, Senator Heinrich announced that the DoD agreed to commission a study by M.I.T. Lincoln Laboratory to look at concerns raised by White Sands Missile Range and examine potential changes to test protocols that would allow the DoD to continue its missions in the presence of the new transmission line. That study, which was completed last March, helped provide the scientific data necessary reach to this resolution. Senator Heinrich has encouraged DoD to make the unclassified results of this study available to the public.

The SunZia Southwest Transmission Project is planned to be approximately 515 miles of two single-circuit 500 kV transmission lines and associated substations that interconnect SunZia with numerous 345 kV lines in New Mexico and Arizona.

For more information about today's announcement, including the Record of Decision, Mitigation Proposal EA and associated documents, visit the U.S. Department of the Interior's website: