Tribes ask 9th Circuit to stop major Southwest power line

By Niina H. Farah | 06/12/2024 06:30 AM EDT

Courts have so far declined to block work on a transmission line that is key to the Biden administration’s renewable energy goals.

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

Arizona tribes are appealing the dismissal of their legal challenge against a massive electric transmission line that they claim would threaten important historical sites in the San Pedro Valley.

The 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals will now weigh in on whether the Tohono O’odham Nation, San Carlos Apache Tribe and other challengers had grounds to oppose the 550-mile SunZia line.

Last week, Judge Jennifer Zipps of the U.S. District Court for the District of Arizona ruled that the tribes, along with the Center for Biological Diversity and Archaeology Southwest, had waited too long to file their challenge against the project, which is designed to provide about 3 million customers in California and Arizona with mostly renewable power.


Zipps, an Obama appointee, had also found that the court could not review some of the claims against the project because they were not final agency actions.