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SunZia Transmission Line Compromise Can Be Reached

The U.S. Department of Defense has announced that security concerns about a proposed transmission line between Arizona and New Mexico can be resolved.

Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel wrote in a letter to Interior Secretary Sally Jewell that concerns about the SunZia transmission project at White Sands Missile Range could be addressed by burying five miles of the line.

Previously, White Sands officials had said the project could reduce testing operations at the range by up to 30 percent, potentially threatening national security.

The concerns prompted New Mexico Gov. Susana Martinez to ask President Barack Obama to ensure the proposed project did not hurt operations at the range, which has an estimated annual economic impact of more than $800 million in New Mexic.

The SunZia project would carry renewable energy from solar and wind projects in eastern and central New Mexico to western markets.

Steve Goldstein was a host at KJZZ from 1997 to 2022.