New Mexico Transmission Siting Overview (8-NM-a)
The NMPRC regulates transmission siting pursuant to New Mexico – N.M. Stat. Ann. §§ 62-3-1–62-3-5, New Mexico – N.M. Stat. Ann. §§ 62-9-1–62-9-7, New Mexico – N.M. Stat. Ann. §§ 62-10-1–62-10-16, and New Mexico – N.M. Stat. Ann. §§ 62-11-1–62-11-7.
Transmission Siting Overview Process
8-NM-a.1 to 8-NM-a.4 – Is the Proposed Transmission Project in Excess of 230kV?
Developers seeking to construct transmission lines equal to, or in excess of, 230kV capacity must file an Application for Location Permit (Application) with the NMPRC. N.M. Stat. Ann. § 62-9-3(B). Developers seeking to site transmission lines with a capacity of less than 230kV, while exempt from the Location Permit requirement, must still comply with local government planning and zoning regulations. In addition, the developer must also submit an Application for Determination of Right of Way Width to the NMPRC if the proposed transmission lines require a right of way width of greater than 100 feet. N.M. Stat. Ann. § 62-9-3.2(A). For more information on the Determination of Right of Way Width requirement, see
The NMPRC does not require approval for projects that are an addition to or a modification of an existing transmission line. N.M. Stat. Ann. § 69-9-3(D).
8-NM-a.5 – Application for Location Permit and Required Attachments
The developer will submit the application to the NMPRC. The application must contain:
- A description of the transmission line, including location, identification of ownership of the affected land, length of the transmission line, description of the interconnection facilities, a map of the transmission line and a schematic of the transmission line;
- Identification of all applicable land use statutes and administrative regulations and proof of compliance or statement of noncompliance with each;
- If required under NEPA, an environmental assessment (EA) prepared in connection with the transmission line;
- If required under NEPA, an environmental impact statement (EIS) and record of decision, or a finding of no significant impact (FONSI), prepared in connection with the transmission line;
- If preparation of a federal EA or EIS is not required under NEPA in connection with the transmission line, then a report, comparable to an EIS , in the format prescribed in 40 C.F.R. § 1502.10;
- All written federal, state, and local environmental authorizations necessary to begin construction of the transmission line;
- All written federal, state, and local environmental authorizations necessary to begin operation of the transmission line, or proof of application for such authorization;
- Testimony demonstrating that the transmission line will not unduly impair important environmental values such as, but not limited to, preservation of air and water quality, land uses, soils, flora and fauna, and water, mineral, socioeconomic, cultural, historic, religious, visual, geologic and geographic resources;
- The expected date that the transmission line will be online;
- Proof that the application has been served on local authorities in each county and township where the transmission line will be located, the New Mexico Attorney General, the New Mexico Environment Department, and the New Mexico State Engineer; and
- Any other information, including photographs, which the applicant wishes to submit in support of the application. N.M. Code R. § 17.9.592.10.
8-NM-a.6 to 8-NM-a.7 – Review Application for Completeness
The NMPRC will review the application for completeness. If the NMPRC determines that an application is incomplete, it will advise the developer of the deficiency within 30 days of receiving the application. The NMPRC will commence its review of the application once it receives all the required information and supporting documentation. N.M. Code R. § 17.9.592.10.
8-NM-a.8 to 8-NM-a.10 – Does the NMPRC Order a Pre-Hearing Conference?
The NMPRC may, with reasonable notice, require that the developer and NMPRC staff attend one or more pre-hearing conferences for the purpose of formulating and simplifying the issues in the proceeding, or addressing other matters that may expedite orderly conduct and disposition of the proceeding. N.M. Code R. § 188.8.131.52. Such matters may include, but are not limited to:
- Details of the procedural schedule;
- The necessity or desirability of amendments to the pleadings;
- The possibility of obtaining admissions of fact and documents that will avoid unnecessary proof;
- Limitations on the number of witnesses or time allocated to particular witnesses or issues at public hearing;
- Procedures at public hearing;
- The distribution of written testimony and exhibits to staff and the parties prior to the public hearing;
- The consideration of any outstanding motions; or
- The status of any settlement negotiations.
8-NM-a.11 – Provide Notice of Public Hearing
The NMPRC must provide notice of the time and place of the hearing to the utility and the developer at least 20 day prior to the proceeding.
8-NM-a.12 – Hold Public Hearing and Review Application
The NMPRC will review the application at a public hearing. The parties to the hearing may be heard, by themselves or through counsel. All parties may also compel the attendance of, and cross examine, witnesses, and introduce evidence. The public will be permitted to comment but will not be able otherwise participate in the hearing. N.M. Stat. Ann. § 62-10-5; N.M. Stat. Ann. § 184.108.40.206(A)(1)-(2).
8-NM-a.13 to 8-NM-a.14 – Does the NMPRC Review the Application Within the Required Time Period?
The NMPRC must issue its order granting or denying the application within six months of its filing. NM Stat. 62-9-3(K). If the NMPRC fails to issue an order approving or denying the application within the required time frame, the application is deemed approved and the Location Permit will be granted. N.M. Stat. Ann. § 62-9-3(L).
8-NM-a.15 – Does the NMPRC Approve the Application?
If the NMPRC approves the application, the Location Permit will be granted. The application will be approved unless the NMPRC finds that the location of the transmission project will “unduly impair important environmental values.” N.M. Stat. Ann. § 62-9-3(F).
8-NM-a.16 to 8-NM-a.18 – Does the Developer Seek Review of the NMPRC Order?
If the NMPRC denies the application, the developer may file a notice of appeal in the New Mexico Supreme Court. The developer must file the notice of appeal within 30 days after the entry of the final order of the NMPRC. The notice of appeal must name the NMPRC as the appellee and must identify the order from which the appeal is taken. N.M. Stat. Ann. § 62-11-1. After the developer files the appeal, it must serve the appeal on the NMPRC and all other parties of record. N.M. Stat. Ann. § 62-11-2.
8-NM-a.19 – Certify Record of Agency Proceeding
The NMPRC must certify to the Supreme Court the record of the testimony taken before the NMPRC at the application hearing. Included with the record must be all exhibits offered or received at the hearing before the NMPRC, and all pleadings, findings, conclusions, orders and opinions made at or in connection with the hearing. N.M. Stat. Ann. § 62-11-2.
8-NM-a.20 to 8-NM-a.22 – Review NMPRC Order
The Supreme Court will annul or vacate the NMPRC order if it is made to appear, to the satisfaction of the Court, that the order is unreasonable or unlawful. N.M. Stat. Ann. § 62-11-5. The developer has the burden of proof to show that the NMPRC order is unreasonable or unlawful. N.M. Stat. Ann. § 62-11-4. If the Supreme Court rules in favor of the developer, the NMPRC will grant the Location Permit. If the Supreme Court affirms the NMPRC order, the project cannot continue.
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- New Mexico – N.M. Stat. Ann. §§ 62-3-1–62-3-5, Public Utility Act
- Preamble and Definitions
- New Mexico – N.M. Stat. Ann. §§ 62-9-1–62-9-7, The Utility Franchise
- New Mexico – N.M. Stat. Ann. §§ 62-10-1–62-10-16, Hearings Before the Commission
- New Mexico – N.M. Stat. Ann. §§ 62-11-1–62-11-7, Review of Commission Orders
- New Mexico – N.M. Code R. §§ 220.127.116.11-18.104.22.168, Public Regulation Commission Rules of Procedure
- New Mexico – N.M. Code R. §§ 17.9.592.1-17.9.592.15, Location of Large Capacity Plants and Transmission Lines
- 40 C.F.R. §§ 1502.1-1502.25, Environmental Impact Statement