The SunZia Southwest Transmission Project received a “Record of Decision” (ROD) from the U.S. Bureau of Land Management (BLM) for its proposed transmission project covering 515 mi between New Mexico and Arizona. The ROD concludes the federal permitting effort, which officially began in May 2009, under the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA).
“We are excited to reach this milestone and to be one major step closer to unleashing the renewable energy potential of the southwest and creating jobs” said Tom Wray, SunZia Project Manager. “Reaching an agreement with the U.S. Department of Defense to take measures to preserve and protect the current and future missions of the White Sands Missile Range was the final hurdle in this process and a huge accomplishment in itself. And none of this would have been possible without the exhaustive and thorough environmental review and analysis conducted by BLM.”
Development efforts will now turn toward seeking state and local siting approvals in New Mexico and Arizona.
SunZia reached a number of milestones during its federal permitting efforts, including designation by the White House as one of only seven transmission projects in the country to receive accelerated permitting treatment, formal sponsorship by the New Mexico Renewable Energy Transmission Authority and initial agreement with Boston-based First Wind Energy to receive anchor tenant status. SunZia will have additional announcements as other developments currently underway reach completion