Construction on the SunZia Transmission Project has resumed following an “immediate temporary suspension” issued by the Bureau of Land Management (BLM).
The 520-mile electric transmission project, spanning from New Mexico to California, received approval to resume on Monday, Nov. 27.
The temporary halt primarily impacted a 50-mile segment in Arizona, which ran through the San Pedro Valley.
BLM said it initiated the pause to gather input from tribes and consulting parties regarding the potential existence of a Traditional Cultural Property (TCP) that had not previously been identified in the valley.
Allison Sandoval with BLM said the agency has not yet received information about the potential TCP.
“The BLM remains committed to consulting with Tribes and will continue to work on mitigating any effects from the SunZia transmission line through the San Pedro Valley through the process identified in the existing Programmatic Agreement and Historic Properties Treatment Plan that guide the work,” Sandoval said.
In 2015, a Right of Way (ROW) was issued to the SunZia Transmission Project, after a six-year environmental review process.
A ROW is mandatory whenever there is a risk of “appreciable disturbance, alteration or damage to public lands” within a specified timeframe.
The SunZia project is being developed by San Francisco-based Pattern Energy.
Natalie McCue, assistant vice president of environmental and permitting at Pattern Energy, confirmed that construction resumed last week on the affected portion of the transmission line following BLM’s notification.
“Pattern will continue to support the BLM-led government-government consultation process, which began in 2009, and adopt any necessary mitigation measures,” McCue said.