recommended reading

New Plan for New Mexico Power Line: Bury the Missile Range Parts


SunZia Transmission LLC has tentatively agreed to bury a five mile portion of a high voltage electric transmission line that crosses land leased by the White Sands Missile Range, clearing the way for the project to transmit clean wind energy from rural New Mexico to power hungry markets in Arizona and California.

Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel disclosed the agreement by SunZia on Tuesday in a letter to Interior Secretary Sally Jewell, who has oversight of the route permit process managed by the Bureau of Land Management. The Pentagon has repeatedly objected to construction of the SunZia line across the missile range on national security grounds because its 35-foot towers spaced 1,400 feet apart would interfere with low level aircraft and missile tests.

To mitigate the impact on missile range operations, Hagel said he “determined that a total of five miles of power line needs to be buried in up to three separate segments, so that some low altitude flight operations can occur.”  Hagel told Jewell his staff will identify those segments by Monday, June 2.

If Interior and SunZia agree to the sections the Pentagon identifies, Hagel said Defense will withdraw its objections to the route selected by BLM in June, 2013, which crosses “northern extension” land leased by the Missile Range.

SunZia said BLM “is expected to move forward with permitting activities following final approval of the Defense Department's soon-to-be released mitigation proposal.” The company’s website also acknowledged “acceptance of mitigation commitments that will resolve the mission conflicts previously identified by White Sands Missile Range.”

Ian Calkins, a SunZia spokesman, said burying the line will be “extremely expensive. Ten to twenty times above ground.” Burial also poses technical hurdles Calkins did not define. He did not provide a cost estimate either. A June 2013 Defense and Energy Department working group report pegged the cost of burying the line at $10 million a mile, ten times the cost of the above-ground route.

(Image via ArtisticPhoto/

Threatwatch Alert

Thousands of cyber attacks occur each day

See the latest threats


Close [ x ] More from Nextgov

Thank you for subscribing to newsletters from
We think these reports might interest you:

  • Data-Centric Security vs. Database-Level Security

    Database-level encryption had its origins in the 1990s and early 2000s in response to very basic risks which largely revolved around the theft of servers, backup tapes and other physical-layer assets. As noted in Verizon’s 2014, Data Breach Investigations Report (DBIR)1, threats today are far more advanced and dangerous.

  • Featured Content from RSA Conference: Dissed by NIST

    Learn more about the latest draft of the U.S. National Institute of Standards and Technology guidance document on authentication and lifecycle management.

  • PIV- I And Multifactor Authentication: The Best Defense for Federal Government Contractors

    This white paper explores NIST SP 800-171 and why compliance is critical to federal government contractors, especially those that work with the Department of Defense, as well as how leveraging PIV-I credentialing with multifactor authentication can be used as a defense against cyberattacks

  • Toward A More Innovative Government

    This research study aims to understand how state and local leaders regard their agency’s innovation efforts and what they are doing to overcome the challenges they face in successfully implementing these efforts.

  • From Volume to Value: UK’s NHS Digital Provides U.S. Healthcare Agencies A Roadmap For Value-Based Payment Models

    The U.S. healthcare industry is rapidly moving away from traditional fee-for-service models and towards value-based purchasing that reimburses physicians for quality of care in place of frequency of care.

  • GBC Flash Poll: Is Your Agency Safe?

    Federal leaders weigh in on the state of information security


When you download a report, your information may be shared with the underwriters of that document.