Cascabel Working Group
A grassroots organization concerned with the cultural and ecological integrity of the lower/middle San Pedro Valley
  • Check in the Latest News section for recent happenings

  • February 3rd, 2016, the Arizona Corporation Commission approved SunZia's Certificate of Environmental Compatibility by a vote of 3-2

  • The Arizona Corporation Commission Line Siting Committee voted 8-0 (1 abstention) in support of issuing SunZia a Certificate of Environmental Compatibility

  • Jan 23rd, 2015: The BLM released its Record of Decision (ROD) on the SunZia project. See CWG's Press Release

  • The Dept of Defense had objected to SunZia's proposed lines across the northern end of the White Sands missle range. SunZia has agreed to bury sections of the lines over a 5 mile stretch. Read CWG's report on the cost and time required to bury the lines here.

    The BLM is will now need to conduct a supplement to the Final Environmental Impact Statement, which will take at least until next Spring, or longer.

  • A formal Coalition Protest of the FEIS and Resource Management Plan Amendments was submitted on June 14, 2013. See the Latest News (June 2013) page for reactions.

  • CWG released an important report (02/2013): SunZia: An Unnecessary High-Risk Project? A response to the report "Evaluating the SunZia Transmission Line Proposal A Guide for Stakeholders and Decision Makers "

  • The BLM's DEIS (draft environmental impact statement, 05/2012) recommended a route for the proposed project that runs along the west side of the San Pedro Valley

    CWG's response:
    Recommendation: The No Action Alternative

    We strongly recommend that the "No Action" alternative is the only acceptable decision for this project. This recommendation is based upon the following:

    1. The magnitude of the environmental values that must be sacrificed to complete this project
    2. The sound and compelling alternatives that exist to achieve its stated objectives
    3. The economic factors that make building this project untenable

    The fact that solid, more economically feasible alternatives are available to achieve this project’s purported goals supports our recommendation, as does the fact that this project cannot be profitably built. This project is also greatly muddled by having been specifically proposed to provide transmission capacity for the project proponent’s own yet-to-be-built 1,000-MW natural gas-fired power plant. While we document this fact and take issue with the project’s stated purpose and need, the following review focuses more on whether this stated purpose and need can be met in other, more efficient ways.
See our extensive response to the DEIS.
Also read the many DEIS comments from other local organizations.



  • Shaky economic footing. Could SunZia go bankrupt?

The Working Group has composed a detailed letter explaining the reasons behind the high likelihood that the SunZia project will fail financially.  This letter has been sent to the Department of Energy and relevant leaders in Washington (and elsewhere) to persuade them to both rescind stimulus funding and to abort “fast tracking” requested by the Obama administration.

  • California governor told the Western Electricity Coordinating Council that no renewable energy imports are needed.  Where is SunZia’s market?
  • …not that SunZia offers “primarily renewable” energy now or in the probable future.  But California has a robust in-state market for renewable energy and sufficient in-state renewable resources to serve its entire electricity needs. Read the letter from the Senior Advisor to the [California] Governor for Renewable Energy Facilities to the WECC.

  • BLM has been petitioned to correct the SunZia project’s scoping description.  Has SunZia green-washed itself for political appeal?

Their misleading marketing campaign, stating that it will transmit ‘primarily renewable’ electricity is the subject of an Information Quality Act Petition by our local [Redington and Winkleman] NRCDs

UPDATE-->the NRCDs have received word that the BLM has been asked to change text on their SunZia webpage (for details see our NRCD Petition page).

WAPA was authorized to award this money through the 2009 American Recovery and Renewal Act---i.e., the stimulus package coming from taxpayer monies. What happened to "Not One Red Cent"?!

SunZia project manager, Tom Wray, categorically stated at the Cascabel Community Center on January 13th, 2010, that "Not One Red Cent" of taxpayer monies would go toward the project. Ironically, should SunZia go bankrupt, it would not have to repay "one red cent" of these funds, as happened with the failed Solyndra Project.

  • SunZia spent $269,000 lobbying Washington, in 2011 alone
  • Arizona SB1517 was defeated – SunZia’s failed attempt to bypass the Arizona Corporation Commission’s line siting process



Corrections to SunZia's jobs brochure
CWG research writer Mick Meader has released an important critique of SunZia's economic impact report. This has been reported in a March 19th, 2012 article in the Albuquerque Journal.


Greenwashing...See our NRCD's
Information Quality Act Petition
The Southwestern Power Group's (SWPG) sole reason for proposing SunZia and championing it, grew out of SWPG's need for transmission capacity for its gas fired, non-renewable, Bowie power plant (see Mick Meader's report). SWPG was very open about this and had this plan approved by the Southwest Area Transmission Planning Group (SWAT). When this wouldn't work with investors and SWPG decided to extend the line to central New Mexico, SWPG deliberately hid its intentions and need from the federal government to sell the project as a "renewable project". This is where the problems begin...

SunZia not needed - Enter the Southline Transmission Project
  • Do we need both SunZia and Southline? See our Comment to the BLM on the Southline Project
    "It thus seems imprudent and duplicative to build both systems."
  • Southline is a modern, environmentally aware project which has sought community feedback from the start (see one of their fliers, and also Mick Meader's report.)
  • Scoping for the Southline Project should being sometime before July 2012. They now have a page on the BLM website
  • SunZia is an adversarial, old-school corporation which attempts to force its agenda on the public using political power (see our lobbying page and our Arizona Senate Bill 1547 page as examples) and clever, if not outright deceiving, public campaigns (see Information Quality Act Petition in the September and July news sections). Are they truly operating in the best interest of the public?

Taxpayer Money Funding SunZia despite Tom Wray's claim of "Not One Red Cent"
  • January 13th, Cascabel Community Center - watch SunZia project manager Tom Wray categorically state that no taxpayer money will fund SunZia. Click here.
  • Taxpayer monies now funding SunZia:
    • Land leases on federal land that SunZia may pass through are subsidized by the taxpayers. See this article by Peter Else.
    • A misleading "green" campaign, promoted by the BLM (i.e., taxpayers). (see Information Quality Act Petition),
    • An application submitted for approximately $1/4 billion in federal loan guarantees from the Western Area Power Administration (WAPA)