On Saturday, Secretary of the Department of the Interior (DOI) Sally Jewell is expected to sign the record of decision (ROD), approving the construction of the SunZia transmission line (SunZia). U.S. Rep. Steve Pearce (N.M.-2) issued the following statement in response:
“It appears that, with one stroke of a pen, Secretary Jewell will permanently damage our national security, and trample on our state’s Native American heritage. Green-lighting the completion of SunZia along the chosen route is a reckless rush to judgment without thorough examination. It will dramatically impair the mission of White Sands Missile Range (WSMR) to test defense systems critical to the protection of our nation and troops.
“Equally alarming, the approved route will encroach upon, damage, and potentially destroy ancient Pueblo sites,” said Pearce.
“I am extremely surprised that Senator Heinrich and Congressman Lujan would agree with the destruction of sites fundamental to New Mexico’s history and heritage,” Pearce continued. “Regardless of our different views on national security and the role of the military, I am taken aback by their support for crony corporate welfare at the expense of our culture.
“On December 16, I wrote to Director Kornze of the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) expressing my deep concerns with fast-tracking DOI approval. Specifically, I wrote that BLM and DOI have not examined recently discovered ancient pueblo sites directly in the path of the proposed transmission line. To date, neither BLM nor DOI have responded – even to acknowledge my letter.
“New Mexicans rightfully have questions about the impact SunZia will have. The Federal Government has well established regulations and procedures guiding construction in areas containing native and historical artifacts. In a complete departure from its own rules, BLM and DOI used an insufficient environmental assessment, instead of a thorough and responsible supplemental environmental impact study. This rash and rushed action by Secretary Jewell makes it clear that she and some in our Congressional Delegation are not concerned about the views of hard working New Mexicans.
“Once again, I do not oppose the construction of SunZia. What I oppose and find deeply troubling are the tactics being used to complete it. The Obama Administration and its aligned New Mexico representatives should not sacrifice national security and New Mexico’s cultural heritage on the altar of corporate profit.”
WSMR is the nation’s premier development and test facility. Unlike any other range, WSMR allows the military to conduct live tests of everything from Patriot missiles to laser interceptors.
NOTE: Secretary Jewell with Congressman Lujan and Senator Heinrich plan on announcing the authorization of this project Saturday, January 24 at 11:30 AM at Sandia National Lab. SunZia, an Arizona corporation, plans on constructing a 500 mile transmission line across New Mexico, to provide power to large Arizona communities. Since prior to returning to Congress, Congressman Pearce has expressed concerns over the proposed route of the line.