The U.S. Bureau of Land Management will announce in the Oct. 6 Federal Register its intent to prepare an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) evaluating the proposed 33-mile, 345-kV Verde Transmission Project and potential amendment to the Taos Resource Management Plan (RMP) pursuant to the BLM’s land use planning regulations.
The BLM is the lead agency in the development of the EIS and will cooperate with the Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA), the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USCOE), and the National Park Service (NPS). With this Oct. 6 notice, the BLM is beginning the scoping process to solicit public comments and identify issues on the proposed transmission line and a potential plan amendment. Comments may be submitted in writing within 60 days after this notice is published.
Verde Transmission LLC has applied to the BLM for a right-of-way (ROW) to construct, operate, maintain, and eventually decommission a 345-kV overhead transmission line that would connect the existing Public Service Co. of New Mexico (PNM) Ojo Substation in southern Rio Arriba County to the existing Norton Substation in Santa Fe County, New Mexico. The proposed line would cross approximately 10 miles of BLM land, 15 miles of tribal land, and eight miles of private land.
The permanent ROW requested for the project would be 150 feet wide, if approved. Since the proposed transmission project would not be consistent with the existing visual resource management classifications of the area, as part of its review of the ROW application the BLM is also evaluating potential amendments to the visual resource classifications in the Taos Resource Management Plan.