You may have seen this transmission line along state Route 74 near Lake Pleasant.
While searching through comments on an APS proposal for a new transmission line, I found something disturbing. The comment below is from the Grand Canyon chapter of the Sierra Club. Their argument is there’s not enough evidence to support the Environmental Impact Assessment findings of “no environmental impact” from the new transmission line.
The Environmental Impact Assessment is required by law to show the potential impact on endangered species and other wildlife in the immediate project area. The proposal calls for a 20 foot wide Trail to be carved through the mountains along the transmission line’s length. In this case, the environmental assessment claims that there will be no environmental impact on endangered species or other wildlife.
The Bureau of Land Management’s response is quite enlightening.
“The analysis to special status species that COULD occur in the area are disclosed in the FEIS/PRMP AS IF THEY WHERE PRESENT WHERE SUITABLE HABITAT OCCURS FOR THOSE SPECIES.” Says the Bureau of Land Management in their response.
This means that the endangered species doesn’t necessarily exist in the area or call this place home. This means that it’s a suitable place for them to thrive. There is no actual science showing the impact on endangered species; it’s all theoretical.
Commonly used tactic or just a coinkidink?
We continually see the excuse of endangered species habits to close down our trails all over Arizona and the US. Theoretically, the entire Sonoran Desert is the correct habitat for the Sonoran desert tortoise. With that logic, BLM could shut down the entire Sonoran Desert. It’s an outrageous assumption that the people impact endangered species by using motorized access to our public lands, and a new trail and transmission line somehow does not. Furthermore, it’s an outrageous assumption to treat every single habitat as if the species is present.
One can only assume. Is the Bureau of Land Management and US Forest Service doing this with Environmental Impact Statements for our Travel Management Plans? Ultimately, the Sierra Club is correct. There is not enough science, and what is available is outdated. Doesn’t this sound familiar?
See the screenshots below.