BACKGROUND

In November 2023, Los Alamos National Labs (LANL), with oversight from the National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA), announced the proposal of a 14-mile, 115kV power transmission line project that would cut across the Caja del Rio, jeopardizing its spiritual and ecological integrity.

The Caja del Rio is a landscape of immense cultural and spiritual significance for many Pueblos and Hispanic communities throughout Northern New Mexico. Constructing a power transmission line through the Caja would put this sacred land in immediate danger, causing irreversible damage to the landscape by causing erosion, water quality degradation, habitat fragmentation, and increased opportunity for illegal off-highway vehicle use on this very sensitive landscape. The Caja del Rio must be protected and preserved for future generations.

CLICK HERE TO SUBMIT YOUR PUBLIC COMMENT!

Public Hearing

On Thursday, February 15th 2024 from 4-7pm, the Department of Energy (DOE) the National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA) and cooperating agencies will hold a second public hearing to gather input from community members on the draft EA. The meeting will start with a poster information session at 4pm, followed by a presentation on the draft EA and a comment period at 4:30pm

The public hearing will take place at:
Santa Fe Community College, Jemez Room
6401 Richards Ave., Santa Fe, NM 87508

A virtual option is available and will start at 4:30pm and can be accessed by clicking the link below:

http://tinyurl.com/LANLEPCUEA2

Meeting ID: 216 364 231 301      Passcode: KWf2M2
To join the meeting by telephone, call: 719-283-1404
Phone Conference ID: 660 740 035#

At the first public hearing held on January 11th 2024, more than 120 people attended online and in-person to voice their concerns about the project, including Tribal leaders, elected officials, community representatives and nonprofit organizations. An overwhelming majority of those who spoke had strong concerns, citing a serious lack of consideration and irreversible damage to the Caja's wildlife, delicate ecosystems and cultural sites.

This is a critical time for the Caja and we need your collective voices!

CLICK HERE TO SUBMIT YOUR COMMENT!

 

A map of the proposed transmission line project. The highlighted section represents the area where a new line would be placed.

Submit Your Comment

Even if you attended the public hearings, everyone must submit their public comment by February 20th in order for it to go on record and be considered.

CLICK HERE TO SUBMIT YOUR COMMENT!

 

Key Points

  • The project poses a direct threat to crucial wildlife habitats, including those of vulnerable bird species like the golden eagle and the western burrowing owl. It’s also part of the Western Wildway Priority Wildlife Corridor, supporting movement along the Rio Grande for large mammals including mule deer, elk, coyote, and gray fox.
  • Culturally significant sites, petroglyphs, and ancestral homes face prolonged, irreparable damage. The Caja del Rio is used by many Pueblo communities for spiritual ceremonies; construction and installation of a transmission line would significantly disrupt those ceremonies.
  • Before moving forward, an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) must be prepared. An EIS is a comprehensive government document that assesses and discloses significant environmental impacts of a proposed project. This rigorous evaluation ensures that decision-makers and the public have a full understanding of the ecological, cultural, and social impacts, allowing for informed and responsible choices that prioritize the well-being of Caja del Rio.
  • The NNSA must explore and invest in clean, green energy alternatives rather than resorting to a power transmission line that would harm our cherished landscapes. Renewable energy sources can provide a sustainable solution without compromising the natural and cultural heritage of Caja del Rio.

EXAMPLE LETTER

Never submitted a public comment? No problem. Use this guide to help you format your own public comment:

"I'm writing to express my concern of the proposed power transmission line across the Caja del Rio. This landscape holds immense ecological and cultural significance and must be safeguarded from the potentially irreversible harm that this project will cause.

The transmission line poses an immediate threat to crucial wildlife habitats, especially for vulnerable species like the western burrowing owl. Additionally, the potential damage to culturally significant sites endangers both wildlife and the rich cultural heritage of the region.

The NNSA should prepare a comprehensive Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) before proceeding. This thorough assessment is crucial for informed decision-making, considering the holistic impacts on the environment, culture, and society.

I also urge the NNSA to explore and invest in clean, green energy alternatives. Sustainable solutions, like renewable energy sources, can meet LANL’s power needs without compromising the natural and cultural heritage of the Caja del Rio.

In conclusion, I request a thorough environmental review and reconsideration of alternatives to the proposed power transmission line and advocate for responsible choices that prioritize the long-term health of Caja del Rio.

Thank you for your attention to this urgent matter."

SUBMIT YOUR PUBLIC COMMENT TO:  EPCUEA@nnsa.doe.gov

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