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The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) is asking the public to help identify issues involved in a proposal to construct a high-voltage 500 kV power transmission line (or two parallel lines) across southern New Mexico and Arizona.

The BLM has initiated a public scoping process to gather information about the proposal and will oversee the preparation of an environmental impact statement that will identify environmental impacts and evaluate alternatives for the project, proposed by SunZia Transmission LLC.

The BLM will host nine open-house meetings in New Mexico and Arizona along the proposed transmission line study corridor to provide the public an opportunity to review the proposal and project information before submitting comments and resource information to the agency.

The final agency decision for the proposed route, which would involve decisions on federal right-of-way designations, will only affect public lands administered by the BLM.

The BLM is the lead federal agency for the process. Cooperating agencies will be invited to participate, including the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Bureau of Reclamation, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, the New Mexico State Land Office and the Arizona State Land Department. Other state agencies and local governments will be invited to participate, and consultation will occur with tribal governments.

SunZia's proposed transmission line route would be about 460 miles in length and originate at a new substation site in either Socorro or Lincoln Counties, N.M., and would terminate in Pinal County, Ariz. The proposed line - or parallel lines - would be located on federal, state and private lines. The purpose of the project would be to transport electricity, generated primarily from renewable resources, to Western power markets and load centers.

SOURCE: Bureau of Land Management

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