Alamogordo, NM (August 8, 2013) - Today, U.S. Congressman Steve Pearce issued the following statement on a letter (attached) sent from John Conger, Acting Deputy Under Secretary of Defense, noting the official opposition of the Department of Defense (DOD) to the “preferred alternative route” of the proposed Sun-Zia transmission line:

In June 2013, the Bureau of Land Management issued a Final Environmental Impact Statement (FEIS) for the Sun-Zia transmission line project.  The preferred route highlighted within the FEIS has the transmission line traveling through the northern most boundaries of the White Sands Missile Range (WSMR).  As a result, the DOD, with BLM involvement, created a Technical Working Group (TWG) to address any and all potential conflicts to the lines creation.

“The TWG was created to analyze any and all impact the construction of Sun-Zia through WSMR would have on the range and national security, and to propose possible solutions to any impact,” said Pearce.  “After months of work, the group has concluded that the proposed route would create a serious national security risk.  As Mr. Conger highlights in his letter, the route as proposed would impede the military’s ability to complete testing that cannot be done anywhere else in the United States.  The result would cause a devastating impact on national security.”

“Based on this report, I hope Sun-Zia recognizes how damaging their proposed route will be to national security.  I urge them to take the advice of the TWG’s report and take every action possible to alter the route to not to interfere with the critical mission at WSMR.”

Congressman Pearce has time and again expressed his support for the creation of the Sun-Zia transmission line, so long it does not interfere with the military mission at WSMR.  In addition to the critical national security work completed at the range, WSMR accounts for tens of thousands of jobs and hundreds of millions of dollars into the national and local economies.

The letter (attached) expresses the DoD’s official objection “to a portion of the preferred alternative route identified in the Sun Zia Southwest Transmission Project Final Environmental Impact Statement (FEIS)…” citing “significant risks to national security.”  Further, it specifies that the line in question “would preclude our capability to fully test the Joint Integrated Air and Missile Defense Architecture and other weapon systems under realistic threat environments at WSMR.  This testing is absolutely necessary and it should be clearly understood that no other location exists in the United States where it is possible to conduct flight tests with the footprint requirements these weapon systems present.”

The letter is also available online.