Judge tosses lawsuit against major Southwest transmission line

By Pamela King | 06/07/2024 06:30 AM EDT

Tribes and environmental groups argue that the $8 billion SunZia project will harm the culturally and ecologically important San Pedro Valley.

Construction equipment is staged at a yard in Arizona.

Construction equipment is staged at a yard in Arizona near Red Rock Canyon in the San Pedro Valley. Alex Binford-Walsh/Archaeology Southwest

A federal judge has scrapped a lawsuit against a Southwest transmission line considered key to the Biden administration’s clean energy goals.

In an order issued Thursday, Judge Jennifer Zipps of the U.S. District Court for the District of Arizona said tribal challengers had waited too long to raise their claims against the 550-mile SunZia line. The lawsuit also targeted federal approvals that are not subject to a court’s review, Zipps said, because they were not final agency actions.

Zipps, an Obama appointee, wrote that the problems with the tribes’ lawsuit “cannot be cured” by amending the complaint, and she dismissed the case with prejudice, or without the possibility for a revival.


The Center for Biological Diversity and Archaeology Southwest had joined the Tohono O’odham Nation and the San Carlos Apache Tribe in challenging federal approvals for the SunZia line. They had asked the courts to invalidate the project’s right-of-way authorization and allowances for the project to proceed.