October 23, 2014

New Mexico Delegation Requests Prompt Action on Major Disaster Declaration for September Floods

‘Expedited attention’ sought to speed recovery efforts following extreme weather

WASHINGTON - Today, U.S. Senators Tom Udall and Martin Heinrich and U.S. Representatives Steve Pearce, Ben Ray Luján, and Michelle Lujan Grisham sent a letter to President Obama, requesting prompt action on the state of New Mexico's recent request for a major disaster declaration to assist with recovery efforts following severe storms and flooding caused by Hurricane Odile in late September.

Between Sept. 15 and Sept. 25, parts of New Mexico including Colfax, Eddy, Lea, Otero, San Miguel, Santa Fe and Sierra counties endured severe storms and flooding that significantly damaged roads, bridges, low-water crossings and other infrastructure. Yesterday, Oct. 22, the state requested the federal government declare a major disaster, provide the correlated public assistance for counties that suffered extensive damage, and provide statewide hazard mitigation assistance. The associated funding would help with recovery efforts including debris removal, emergency protective measures, and repairs to roads, bridges and water control facilities.

"In light of the ongoing losses and possible long-term impacts from flooding during the time period of September 15 through September 25, 2014, we request your expedited attention to Governor Martinez's request on behalf of the State for a major disaster designation and the correlated public assistance," the lawmakers wrote. "We remain committed to providing the necessary assistance to you and the governor in expediting New Mexico's recovery efforts and ensuring an effective response from this extreme weather event."

According to Governor Martinez's letter requesting the major disaster declaration, the total severe storm damage has been assessed at $10.2 million, with damage to roads and bridges accounting for more than 70 percent of the total. Other damage includes extensive debris, disruption of oil and gas development, agricultural loss, and water and wastewater infrastructure.

The full text of the letter is available below and HERE.


October 23, 2014

The Honorable Barack Obama
President of the United States of America
The White House
1600 Pennsylvania Ave. NW
Washington, DC 20500

Dear President Obama:

We appreciate your responsiveness to the State of New Mexico as our communities have sought federal disaster assistance for drought, fire, and extreme weather events that have threatened public safety and property. We again respectfully request that you take prompt action on the State of New Mexico's recent request for major disaster declaration as a result of severe storms and flooding caused by Hurricane Odile from September 15 through September 25, 2014.

The state's request dated October 22, 2014, assesses the severe storm damages at $10.2 million, or $4.96 per capita. The greatest damage was to roads and bridges, accounting for 70% of the total. Other damage includes extensive debris, disruption of oil and gas development, agricultural loss, and water and wastewater infrastructure damage. Additionally, we continue to mourn the loss of two individuals who drowned as a result of this extreme weather event.

In light of the ongoing losses and possible long-term impacts from flooding during the time period of September 15 through September 25, 2014, we request your expedited attention to Governor Martinez's request on behalf of the State for a major disaster designation and the correlated public assistance, specifically categories A through G for the counties of Colfax, Eddy, Lea, Otero, San Miguel, Santa Fe, and Sierra. We additionally support the state's request for Hazard Mitigation assistance statewide. We remain committed to providing the necessary assistance to you and the governor in expediting New Mexico's recovery efforts and ensuring an effective response from this extreme weather event.

Sincerely,


Tom Udall
United States Senator

Martin Heinrich
United States Senator

Steve Pearce
United States Representative

Ben Ray Luján
United States Representative

Michelle Lujan Grisham
United States Representative