September 30, 2016

NM Delegation Supports Navajo Nation’s Request for Disaster Declaration for Shiprock Flooding

WASHINGTON - In a letter to the President of the United States, U.S. Senators Tom Udall and Martin Heinrich and U.S. Representatives Steve Pearce, Ben Ray Luján and Michelle Lujan Grisham expressed support for Navajo Nation President Russell Begaye's request for a major disaster declaration in response to August flooding that occurred on the Navajo Nation in Shiprock.

"This rainstorm caused severe flooding and prompted evacuation of the primary flood area in Shiprock where the flood waters displaced boulders, trees, fences, and other like objects and carried them into and up against houses and obstructed local roads," the delegation wrote in the letter sent earlier this week. "Native communities deserve full and complete protection of their resources, land, and livelihoods. Recovering from this incident will require a full and coordinated approach."

Shiprock was hit by heavy rainfall on August 3rd through 5th, 2016. According to President Begaye's letter flooding destroyed housing and demolition of damaged structures has taken place. However, half of the resulting debris has still not been removed. The Navajo Nation's disaster response capacity was already taxed in this area due to the Gold King Mine spill's impact on the Shiprock community.

The letter is available HERE and below.

September 26, 2016

The Honorable Barack Obama
President of the United States
The White House
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue
Washington, D.C. 20500

Dear President Obama:

We respectfully request that you take prompt action on Navajo Nation President Russell Begaye's request for a major disaster declaration for flooding that occurred in Shiprock, Navajo Nation as a result of a monsoonal burst of rainfall on August 3rd through 5th, 2016.
This rainstorm caused severe flooding and prompted evacuation of the primary flood area in Shiprock where the flood waters displaced boulders, trees, fences, and other like objects and carried them into and up against houses and obstructed local roads. Of the houses that were destroyed by the flooding, several have been demolished and about 50% of the resulting debris has been removed to date. The Navajo Nation's disaster response capacity was already taxed in this area due to the Gold King Mine spill's impact on the Shiprock community.

Native communities deserve full and complete protection of their resources, land, and livelihoods. Recovering from this incident will require a full and coordinated approach. We appreciate your past responsiveness to the State of New Mexico when our communities have sought federal disaster assistance, and thank you for your attention to this important issue.

Sincerely,

U.S. Senator Tom Udall
U.S. Senator Martin Heinrich
U.S. Representative Steve Pearce
U.S. Representative Ben Ray Luján
U.S. Representative Michelle Lujan Grisham