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SunZia comment period extended

The proposed SunZia Southwest Transmission Project seeks to deliver wind-generated electricity to western area markets and load centers. The proposed parallel lines would run through federal, state and private lands. ...According to a U.S. Bureau of Land Management news release, SunZia's proposed route for the 460-mile lines would originate at a substation to be constructed in Socorro County or nearby Lincoln County.

Power transmission lines proposed for N.M. and Arizona

A proposal to run a pair of high-voltage power transmission lines across southern New Mexico and Arizona generated a current of dissatisfaction among many who claimed they weren't given enough time to weigh in on the matter.

The proposed SunZia Southwest Transmission Project seeks to deliver wind-generated electricity to western area markets and load centers. The proposed parallel lines would run through federal, state and private lands.

Among the sites proposed to house the lines is San Antonio, N.M. According to a U.S. Bureau of Land Management news release, SunZia's proposed route for the 460-mile lines would originate at a substation to be constructed in Socorro County or nearby Lincoln County.

BLM officials conducted a series of nine public scoping meetings in New Mexico and Arizona, from June 22 through July 9. Public comments were originally due by July 13.

For some Socorro-area residents - who got their first glimpse of the power-oriented proposal July 7 - having less than a week to digest information and formulate comments was just too narrow a window.

San Antonio's Jane Farmer - a former longtime BLM employee - was among those caught... more [truncated due to possible copyright]  

Power transmission lines proposed for N.M. and Arizona

A proposal to run a pair of high-voltage power transmission lines across southern New Mexico and Arizona generated a current of dissatisfaction among many who claimed they weren't given enough time to weigh in on the matter.

The proposed SunZia Southwest Transmission Project seeks to deliver wind-generated electricity to western area markets and load centers. The proposed parallel lines would run through federal, state and private lands.

Among the sites proposed to house the lines is San Antonio, N.M. According to a U.S. Bureau of Land Management news release, SunZia's proposed route for the 460-mile lines would originate at a substation to be constructed in Socorro County or nearby Lincoln County.

BLM officials conducted a series of nine public scoping meetings in New Mexico and Arizona, from June 22 through July 9. Public comments were originally due by July 13.

For some Socorro-area residents - who got their first glimpse of the power-oriented proposal July 7 - having less than a week to digest information and formulate comments was just too narrow a window.

San Antonio's Jane Farmer - a former longtime BLM employee - was among those caught off guard by the July 7 meeting.

Addressing the Socorro Rotary Club on Wednesday, July 15, Farmer said the July 7 meeting afforded attendees very little concrete information about the project. She was, however, heartened to learn that the comment period had been extended.

"They've extended the comment period into August and many of us have submitted our comments and thoughts on the matter," Farmer said. "Among my biggest concerns is the fact that we could end up with a pair of 500 kilovolt transmission lines running through our beautiful landscape."

Other groups - including the Friends of the Bosque del Apache National Wildlife Refuge - have also weighed in to express their concerns.

Leigh Ann Vradenburg, executive director of the Friends' organization, said the project's potential impact on migratory birds is a huge concern.

"...It is obvious that there are many unanswered questions as to the effect that these power lines will have on migratory birds, specifically the sandhill cranes," Vradenburg wrote to the BLM. "... Running two 500kV lines (and countless ones to follow) perpendicular to the daily flight path of many overwintering cranes is further complicating an already obstructed path for this struggling population."

A July 16 BLM press release confirms that the comment deadline has been pushed back.

"The initial public scoping comment period was scheduled to end July 13, 2009, however, due to numerous requests from interested groups, organizations and citizens, the BLM has made a decision to grant an extension to the formal comment period," the release states.

Comments will now be accepted through Aug. 28.

Linda Rundell, who serves as the BLM's state director, said comments received will be considered as environmental documents are being drafted.

"This will give the public more time and an additional opportunity to share comments and concerns and identify issues and alternatives to be considered during the Environmental Impact Statement process," Rundell said in the release.

Comments can be made to the BLM via the BLM Project Web site at http://www.blm.gov/nm/st/en/prog/more/lands_realty.html, via the project e-mail address at NMSunZiaProject@blm.gov, or in writing to the Bureau of Land Management, SunZia Transmission Line Project, P.O Box 27115, Santa Fe, NM 87502-0115. Deliveries will be accepted via courier or hand delivery to the Bureau of Land Management, SunZia Transmission Line Project, 1474 Rodeo Road, Santa Fe, NM 87505.

To be added to the mailing list or if you have questions, contact BLM Project Manager Adrian Garcia at 505-438-7424.

Cooperating agencies invited to participate including the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service, Bureau of Reclamation, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, the New Mexico State Land Office and the Arizona State Land Department and other state agencies and local governments. Consultation will also occur with tribal governments.


Source: http://www.dchieftain.com/n...

JUL 18 2009
http://www.windaction.org/posts/21291-sunzia-comment-period-extended
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