October 26, 2014

New Mexico Delegation Welcomes Expansion of President’s Disaster Declaration for Summer Floods

Lawmakers had urged ‘prompt action’ to help state recover from widespread storm damage

WASHINGTON - U.S. Senators Tom Udall and Martin Heinrich and U.S. Representatives Steve Pearce, Ben Ray Luján, and Michelle Lujan Grisham announced that President Obama has expanded a major disaster for the state of New Mexico for the severe storms and flooding from July 27 - August 5 to include Sandoval, Otero and Lincoln counties, as well as the Pueblo of Santa Clara.

On October 6, the president declared a major disaster, which meant that federal aid is available to help state, tribal, and local recovery efforts. The original declaration made assistance available on a cost-sharing basis for damage to public infrastructure in Guadalupe, Rio Arriba, and San Miguel counties and the Pueblo of Acoma. Friday's amendment expands this eligibility to Sandoval, Otero, and Lincoln counties, as well as the Pueblo of Santa Clara. Federal funding will also be made available on a cost-sharing basis to assist with hazard mitigation statewide. Additional designations may be made at a later date if requested by the state and warranted by the results of further damage assessments.

New Mexico's lawmakers on Oct. 2 jointly urged the president to respond quickly to the request for disaster assistance for the state of New Mexico. The severe summer storms and flooding damaged roads, bridges, a dam structure, and other infrastructure. According to Governor Susana Martinez's letter requesting the major disaster declaration, damages resulting from these storms have currently been assessed at $3.93 million.

"This expanded federal assistance is welcome news for residents of Sandoval, Lincoln and Otero counties, as well as Santa Clara Pueblo, who all sustained severe damage to roads, bridges, dams and other structures," Udall said. "I will be closely monitoring the recovery efforts and will keep pushing to ensure the federal government fulfills its obligations to help with restoration in New Mexico's communities."

"The President's addition of Lincoln, Otero, and Sandoval Counties, and the Santa Clara Pueblo, to this month's disaster declaration is welcome news," Heinrich said. "Federal disaster assistance will provide much-needed help for New Mexico communities to rebuild after intense storms and severe floods damaged roads and critical infrastructure over the summer. This is a great step in the recovery effort."

"Our calls for action are being quickly answered, allowing us to bring much-needed assistance to the New Mexicans affected by the September storms," Pearce said. "I remain committed to working with the rest of the Delegation and federal agencies to provide needed relief to our communities in continued need of assistance. We can and will rebuild for a stronger tomorrow. It is an obligation that must be fulfilled."

"Expanding the disaster declaration to include these additional communities is vital to their efforts to rebuild in the wake of the storm and the damage it caused," Luján said. "This federal assistance will help address the need to repair critical infrastructure in impacted areas across New Mexico."

"Many smaller, rural communities are especially vulnerable to natural disasters and they depend on this federal assistance," Lujan Grisham said. "I appreciate the expanded declaration from the President and I'm prepared to continue to work with these communities as they recover."