Plaintiffs will appeal an April 16 U.S. district court ruling in Arizona that denied a request by tribes and others to stop construction of the $11-billion SunZia power transmission line through the state's San Pedro Valley, because of claimed damage to a culturally important Native American area. The route was federally approved in 2015.

Pattern Energy is developing the 550-mile high-voltage, direct-current project, set to finish in 2026, to transport 3,515 MW of onshore wind power now being built in New Mexico. Quanta Infrastructure Services Group is EPC contractor for the transmission line, with Hitachi Energy as its component supplier and Blattner Energy, a Quanta unit, as EPC contractor for the wind project. GE Vernova and Vestas are supplying more than 900 wind turbines.

The court said it “supports the [government] assertion that the project route avoids direct impacts to all cultural resource sites identified.”  

Plaintiffs said the ruling did not adequately consider violations by Pattern Energy and the U.S. Interior Dept. of federal environmental and historic preservation laws. 

"it is not legal for [Interior] to avoid addressing Tribal concerns under one law (NEPA) by telling the Tribes that their concerns will be addressed with subsequent compliance to another law, the National Historic Preservation Act, and then not complying with that law," said Robin Silver, a board member of environmental group Center for Biological Diversity.

Natalie McCue, Pattern Energy assistant vice president of environmental and permitting, said in an earlier email to ENR that “since 2009, the SunZia transmission team has actively worked with [the government] and participating tribes to identify and address any impacts to cultural resource properties."