Huge Environmental Impacts of Proposed 500kV Power Lines

The proposed SunZia Southwest Transmission Project will have major environmental impacts on the San Pedro River Valley ( Several players including Salt River Project, Tucson Electric Power Company, Southwestern Power Group and Tri-State Generation & Transmission Association plan to build two parallel overhead 500kV power lines on steel towers 200 feet tall for a minimum of 500 miles from New Mexico and Arizona to power-hungry customers in California.

Bill Dunn, Chairman of the Winkelman Natural Resource Conservation District, says, “The Districts have invested years of effort and millions of dollars to protect the San Pedro River Valley ecosystem, which is one of the world’s environmental crown jewels because of its biodiversity. It simply makes no sense to punch a huge industrial corridor through the middle of this special place.” The route for the power lines crosses critical and high quality habitat for the endangered southwestern willow flycatcher and Sonoran Desert tortoise. A dozen major adverse impacts to the San Pedro River watershed have been identified, including effects on habitats to impacts on plant and animal species. Dunn says, “The environmental damage to the San Pedro River Valley far outweighs any purported benefits.”

Before the Bureau of Land Management could approve the project, it would have to amend its current Resource Management Plan and downgrade the Visual Resource Management objective for the area to allow an intrusive and unsightly industrial feature in the landscape.

See this link for additional facts on the negative environmental impacts of overhead high voltage power lines, and this link for the benefits of burying these lines.

~ by RETA on July 16, 2012.

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