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The Department of Defence has joined environmental groups in opposition of a 515 mile high-voltage transmission line that is proposed to carry electricity generated at Wind Farms in New Mexico to cities in Arizona and California.
Nextgov wrote that “the proposed SunZia system includes two single-circuit, bi-directional 500 kV transmission lines strung from 135-foot towers spaced 1,400 feet apart along the proposed route.” The lines will run from a substation near to Corona, New Mexico, to a different substation near to the town of Eloy, Arizona.
On the 14th of June the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) selected a preferred route for the transmission lines, but environmentalists and the Pentagon were left unhappy.
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Environmentalists are unhappy that the route will carry the lines through 40 miles of the undeveloped San Pedro River Valley, but the Pentagon has gone further and claimed that the route actually threatens national security. This is because the BLM proposes to send the transmission lines across the north end of the White Sands Missile Range (WSMR), an act that will jeopardize future operations, according to military officials.
The White Sands Missile Range. (WSMR Historical Foundation)
Nextgov reports that Frank Kendall, the undersecretary of Defence, has asked David Hayes, the deputy secretary of the Interior (the agency that runs the BLM) to encourage a new route when the final environmental impact statement is released.
Kendall warned that the current plan will prevent “the capability to fully test the Joint Integrated Air and Missile Defense Architecture and other weapons systems under realistic threat environments at White Sands.
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This is due to the vertical obstruction such power lines would pose to low-level missile flight tests. It is possible that a missile could inadvertently strike the power line or catastrophically fail and shower debris on the power line.”
Katherine Hammack, the assistant secretary of the Army for installations, energy, and environment, has explained that “the impact to military mission would be significant and irreversible because we will no longer be able to conduct certain tests. White Sands Missile Range provides unique testing characteristics and capabilities that cannot be duplicated within the United States. The testing the military conducts at WSMR must be performed to ensure functionality of our military defense systems and preserve and protect our national security.”
Kendall suggests that if the current proposed must be used, then the lines should be buried when passing across the WSMR, in order to reduce the impact on training missions and tests.
Original article found at Nextgov.com
By. Charles Kennedy of Oilprice.com
Charles is a writer for Oilprice.com