Durango Telegraph - Arizona group sues over endangered species
Arizona group sues over endangered species

At least one group is not taking new energy corridors sitting down. The Center for Biological Diversity, located in Tucson, recently filed a formal notice of intent to sue the Department of Energy over its designation of the Southwest National Interest Electric Transmission Corridor. That corridor includes seven southern California and three Arizona counties and will impact at least 95 endangered and threatened species, according to the suit.

“The Energy Department cannot turn a blind eye to the impacts of the Southwest Corridor on endangered species,” said Amy Atwood, staff attorney with the group. “The Southwest Energy Corridor is a death sentence for as many as 95 endangered and threatened species.”

The Department of Energy designated the corridor pursuant to the Energy Policy Act of 2005, allowing for “fast-track” approval of utility and power line projects within the corridor. The act negates state and federal

environmental laws and allows federal condemnation of private land for new high-voltage transmission lines.

“Giving power companies carte blanche to destroy endangered species habitat is not in the nation’s best interest,” said Atwood. “The Energy Department and energy companies need to play by the rules and ensure that future development doesn’t risk the survival of the nation’s wildlife.”

– Will Sands

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