WASHINGTON, D.C. - U.S. Senator Martin Heinrich released an update today on the SunZia Southwest Transmission Project in New Mexico. Last November, the Department of Defense (DoD) agreed to commission a study by M.I.T. Lincoln Laboratory to look at concerns raised by White Sands Missile Range (WSMR) 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 has now been completed.
“My office received a briefing on the results of the M.I.T. Lincoln Labs study yesterday. The briefing was classified, which limits the amount of information that can be shared with the public. I encourage the Department of Defense to make the unclassified results of this study available to public, for we have concluded that there are pragmatic solutions to allow SunZia and White Sands Missile Range to mutually exist. The Administration should issue the record of decision on SunZia’s NEPA process. This is about diversifying New Mexico's economy, lessening our dependence on federal dollars, and charting a course for a more prosperous future. SunZia should get built.”
The SunZia transmission line will help deliver wind and solar energy generated in New Mexico to the major western energy demand centers. Without access to those markets, New Mexico's abundant renewable energy resources will remain isolated and largely untapped.
Senator Heinrich has long supported both the SunZia transmission project and White Sands Missile Range. He said, "I have consistently fought to support the state-of-the-art military training, research and development, and testing that occurs in New Mexico, and I will continue to do so. But it is also important to find common ground that does not preclude one national priority over the other when both priorities can be realized, especially when it means so many jobs for New Mexicans."
SunZia has numerous supporters in New Mexico, including many local governments such as Luna, Hidalgo, Grant, Sierra, Torrance and Lincoln counties and the city of Deming, who stand to gain jobs from both construction of transmission lines and renewable energy generation projects. SunZia's private investors have shown a willingness and ability to invest $1.2 billion into the state economies of New Mexico and Arizona.