UNITED STATES NEWS

Judge dismisses Native American challenge to $10B SunZia energy transmission project in Arizona

Jun 6, 2024, 5:14 PM

A U.S. district judge has dismissed claims by Native American tribes and environmentalists who sought to halt construction along part of a $10 billion energy transmission line that will carry wind-generated electricity from New Mexico to customers as far away as California.

Judge Jennifer Zipps said in her ruling issued Thursday that the plaintiffs were years too late in bringing their challenge. It followed an earlier decision in which she dismissed their requests for a preliminary injunction, saying the Bureau of Land Management had fulfilled its obligations to identify historic sites and prepare an inventory of cultural resources.

The disputed stretch of the SunZia transmission line is in southern Arizona’s San Pedro Valley and passes through an area that holds historic, cultural and religious significance for the tribes.

The Tohono O’odham Nation — along with the San Carlos Apache Tribe, the Center for Biological Diversity and Archeology Southwest — sued in January in hopes of stopping the clearing of roads and pads so more work could be done to identify culturally significant sites within a 50-mile (80-kilometer) stretch of the valley.

California-based developer Pattern Energy called the ruling a win for the region, citing the jobs and billions of dollars in economic development and investment that will result from the project.

“This decision provides assurance moving forward that projects that follow permitting processes and obtain proper approvals will not be threatened years later by baseless legal claims,” Pattern Chief Development Officer Cary Kottler said in an email to The Associated Press. “We remain committed to carrying out our work with the same integrity and dedication that has always defined us, including in a manner that is respectful of tribal sovereignty and cultural resources protection.”

The tribes did not immediately respond to a request for comment. The Tohono O’odham Nation vowed in April to pursue all legal avenues, and environmentalists said an appeal is likely.

“This power company has been working really hard to pretend they can moot the issue by destroying as much as possible as fast as they can,” said Robin Silver, co-founder of the Center for Biological Diversity. “That doesn’t work.”

SunZia is among the projects that supporters say will bolster President Joe Biden’s agenda for cutting greenhouse gas emissions. The planned 550-mile (885-kilometer) conduit would carry more than 3,500 megawatts of wind power to 3 million people.

The tribes asked a federal appeals court to intervene in April, arguing that the federal government has legal and distinct obligations under the National Historic Preservation Act and the National Environmental Policy Act and that the Bureau of Land Management’s interpretation of how its obligations apply to the SunZia project should be reviewed.

The U.S. Interior Department, which oversees the Bureau of Land Management, declined to comment on the ruling.

United States News

Associated Press

Florida prepares for next round of rainfall after tropical storms swamped southern part of the state

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. (AP) — Forecasters warned Floridians to prepare for additional flash flooding after a tropical disturbance dumped as much as 20 inches (50 centimeters) of rainfall in the southern parts of the state, with worsening conditions expected Friday. The disorganized storm system was pushing across Florida from the Gulf of Mexico at roughly […]

4 hours ago

Associated Press

1 of 2 abducted Louisiana children is found dead in Mississippi after their mother is killed

JACKSON, Miss. (AP) — A Louisiana woman was found dead in her home Thursday, and her two young daughters were abducted and found hours later in Mississippi — one dead and the other alive, police said. A Louisiana resident who had dated the woman was arrested in Jackson, Mississippi, in connection with the deaths and […]

9 hours ago

Associated Press

Ready to renew your US passport? You can now apply online

WASHINGTON (AP) — There’s an easier way to renew your passport — online. The State Department has opened a trial run allowing a limited number of people to apply for their updated travel documents with a few clicks. You can’t just start anytime — windows will open at midday Eastern time each day and then […]

10 hours ago

Associated Press

You don’t think corn dogs are haute cuisine? These chefs, using alligator sausage, beg to differ.

NEW ORLEANS (AP) — Stefani De Palma, an award-winning chef and head of the a team vying to represent the Americas in a French culinary competition in January, knew she wanted her team’s work to feature flavors of her native California. The challenge at the Bocuse d’Or Americas competition this week in New Orleans was […]

11 hours ago

Associated Press

Attorney charged in voting machine tampering case announces run for Michigan Supreme Court

LANSING, Mich. (AP) — An attorney charged in connection with an effort to illegally access and tamper with voting machines in Michigan after the 2020 election said Thursday that he’s running for the state’s high court. Republican Matthew DePerno, a supporter of former President Donald Trump, made the announcement on the social platform X. “After […]

11 hours ago

Follow @ktar923...

Sponsored Content by Collins Comfort Masters

Here's how to be worry-free when your A/C goes out in the middle of summer

PHOENIX -- As Arizona approaches another hot summer, Phoenix residents are likely to spend more time indoors.

Sponsored Articles

...

Day & Night Air Conditioning, Heating and Plumbing

Beat the heat, ensure your AC unit is summer-ready

With temperatures starting to rise across the Valley, now is a great time to be sure your AC unit is ready to withstand the sweltering summer heat.

...

DESERT INSTITUTE FOR SPINE CARE

Desert Institute for Spine Care is the place for weekend warriors to fix their back pain

Spring has sprung and nothing is better than March in Arizona. The temperatures are perfect and with the beautiful weather, Arizona has become a hotbed for hikers, runners, golfers, pickleball players and all types of weekend warriors.

...

COLLINS COMFORT MASTERS

Here are 5 things Arizona residents need to know about their HVAC system

It's warming back up in the Valley, which means it's time to think about your air conditioning system's preparedness for summer.

Judge dismisses Native American challenge to $10B SunZia energy transmission project in Arizona