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Heinrich Announces Committee Support of 41 Local Projects, Totaling $31 Million, to Invest in Education, Health Care Workforce, Water Infrastructure, and Landscape Resilience

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Martin Heinrich (D-N.M.) welcomed the Senate Appropriations Committee’s bipartisan passage of the Fiscal Year 2024 (FY24) Interior, Environment, and Related Agencies Appropriations bill, the Labor, Health and Human Services, Education, and Related Agencies Appropriations bill, and the Homeland Security Appropriations bill. This legislation includes over $31 million in investments for 41 local projects across New Mexico. 

"As a member of the Senate Appropriations Committee, I directly advocate for local projects that deliver for New Mexicans through our annual government funding legislation,” said Heinrich. “In addition to maintaining our support for vital programs for Indian Country, our public lands, and health care services, these three bipartisan bills will also help us grow our education and health care workforce in New Mexico, increase availability of substance use disorder treatment, repair clean drinking water infrastructure, and restore healthy forests and watersheds all across our state." 

The Appropriations Committee also passed the Defense Appropriations bill. Next, all the Appropriations bills will be considered by the full Senate.    

Interior, Environment, and Related Agencies Bill Highlights 

Safeguarding Sacred Tribal Objects: Senator Heinrich secured new funding to begin the implementation of his Safeguard Tribal Objects of Patrimony (STOP) Act, which became federal law in December 2022. This law prohibits the exporting of sacred Native American items and increased penalties for stealing and illegally trafficking Tribal cultural patrimony.  

Abandoned Mine Reclamation: Senator Heinrich secured continued funding for the Abandoned Hardrock Mine Reclamation Program after championing the creation of the program in the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law. Hardrock mines and mining features are related to the extraction of metals like copper, gold, silver, and uranium. When not reclaimed, many hardrock mines pose a hazard to public health and the environment. This funding will be used to clean up federal, state, Tribal, or private land and water resources affected by abandoned hardrock mines. 

Protecting Tribal Health and Education: Senator Heinrich successfully protected funding levels for multiple important Tribal health, education, and public safety programs and accounts through the Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA), Bureau of Indian Education (BIE), and Indian Health Service (IHS). This funding will help meet critical needs of Tribes across New Mexico.  

Small and Rural Water Systems: Senator Heinrich secured increased funding for the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to provide technical assistance to rural and small community water and wastewater systems.  

National Conservation Lands: Senator Heinrich secured increased funding to support National Conservation Lands, including Monuments, Scenic and Historic Trails, and Conservation Areas through the Bureau of Land Management (BLM). The funds will help the BLM meet national conservation goals, sustain increased visitation, enhance visitor experience, and administer the system’s expansion. Senator Heinrich also successfully included language prioritizing land-use planning for the Rio Grande Del Norte National Monument. 

Congressionally Directed Spending 

Senator Heinrich successfully included funding for the following 7 local projects in the Senate Interior, Environment, and Related Agencies Appropriations bill.  

  • $1,450,000 for the Village of Questa to plan, design, and construct a drinking water storage tank.  
  • $1,200,000 for the Albuquerque Bernalillo County Water Utility Authority to construct a comprehensive sewer collection system in Carnuel to reduce community reliance on failing septic systems and improve groundwater quality. 
  • $1,000,000 for the City of Gallup to replace critically aged cast iron waterlines that have joints containing lead, improving drinking water quality, efficiency, capacity, and sustainability. 
  • $850,000 for the Rio Lucio Mutual Domestic Water Consumer Association to replace old and undersized water lines and install new meters, which will reduce water line leaks and associated outages. 
  • $430,000 for the City of Portales to complete planning and design for needed sewer line and manhole upgrades.  
  • $400,000 for the Pueblo of Santa Clara to upgrade the air relief valves within the community’s water system, improving system performance.  
  • $150,000 for the Bureau of Land Management to purchase and place remote observation equipment to protect the wildlife habitat and cultural resources of the Caja del Rio Plateau in consultation with tribal governments. 

Additionally, Senators Heinrich and Ben Ray Luján successfully included funding in the bill for the following 4 projects:   

  • $1,200,000 for New Mexico State University to acquire equipment and conduct research to improve the viability of seeds and seedlings used for reforestation in a post-wildfire environment. 
  • $1,200,000 for the New Mexico State Forestry Division to improve forest health and reduce wildfire risk in the Rio Chama Watershed. 
  • $600,000 for the Village of Chama to replace aging water and sewer distribution lines, which will resolve significant ongoing issues caused by pipe leaks, improve water pressure, and remove health risks from water line contamination. 
  • $175,000 for the Pueblo of Tesuque to plan for the construction of a new wastewater treatment plant. 

Labor, Health and Human Services, Education, and Related Agencies Bill Highlights 

Health Workforce: Senator Heinrich successfully included increased funding for the National Health Service Corps and directed the Corps to increase the number of scholarships they provide to students from rural communities to increase equitable access to medical school and help address the rural provider workforce shortage.  

Navajo Birth Cohort Study: Senator Heinrich successfully included $180 million for the Environmental Influences on Child Health Outcomes (ECHO), which funds the Navajo Birth Cohort Study. Additionally, the bill encourages the expansion of the study to include a larger representation of Navajo children to better understand the impacts of environmental exposure in the Navajo Nation.  

Firearm Injury Prevention: Senator Heinrich successfully secured funding for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the National Institutes of Health to study firearm injury and mortality prevention. This study will improve our ability to keep children safe, reduce violent crime, and prevent suicide among veterans and service members.  

Communication Services: Senator Heinrich successfully included funding and language to ensure that more New Mexicans who speak a language other than English have meaningful access to programs and benefits that are conducted or supported by federal agencies. 

College Retention and Completion: Senator Heinrich successfully protected funding for the Postsecondary Student Success Grant, which invests in evidence-based strategies that support student engagement and degree completion.   

Multilingualism: Senator Heinrich successfully included language that supports initiatives to build multilingual teacher pipelines through multilingual Grow-Your-Own programs. Taking an asset-based approach to language instruction, for example by encouraging students and families to maintain their heritage languages while also learning English or incorporating culturally relevant texts, has been shown to increase students’ academic achievement. 

Congressionally Directed Spending 

Senator Heinrich successfully included funding for the following 18 local projects in the Senate Labor, Health and Human Services, Education, and Related Agencies Appropriations bill.  

  • $3,905,000 for the University of New Mexico’s Neonatal Opiate Withdrawal Syndrome (NOWS) Project to expand its training program statewide for providers who treat babies exposed to opioids in utero.   
  • $1,800,000 for the Presbyterian Española Hospital to create the first ASAM Level 3.7 facility in New Mexico. Level 3.7 programs provide service coordination for people suffering with substance use disorders.  
  • $1,350,000 for the Next Generation Building Trades program at Southwest Piping Institute to provide New Mexicans specialized training for skills needed to fulfill jobs created by the CHIPS Act and Inflation Reduction Act.  
  • $1,000,000 for Carlsbad Lifehouse to develop a Certified Community Behavioral Health Clinic in Southeastern New Mexico. 
  • $944,000 for Las Cumbres Community Services Adult Services Program to expand services for adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities in northern New Mexico.  
  • $900,000 for Mora County Ambulance Services to purchase a new ambulance to respond to medical emergencies in northern New Mexico.  
  • $780,000 for the Amador Health Center to expand its current building to treat mental health and substance use disorders in southern New Mexico.  
  • $700,000 for Taos Whole Community Health Substance Abuse Treatment Expansion to combat the addiction epidemic by bringing in specialized clinicians in substance use disorder.   
  • $530,000 for Women in Leadership to expand their outreach, engagement, and trainings to prevent drug overdoses in central and southeastern New Mexico.  
  • $516,000 for Gallup Community Health’s Behavioral Health Program to expand its mental health services to include onsite behavioral health and substance use disorder counseling and case management.  
  • $500,000 for Navajo Preparatory School to create the Classrooms Without Walls Leadership Program to help students develop advocacy and communication skills to support community building within Tribal nations.   
  • $500,000 for Central New Mexico Community College’s Special Education Teacher Training (SETT) to expand the Teacher Residency Model and SETT Program to recruit and retain special education teachers in APS.  
  • $427,000 for Las Cruces Public Schools to launch the Academic Career-Experience Career Ready Toolbox Program to support high school students in career readiness. 
  • $300,000 for Albuquerque Sign Language Academy to develop the Adult Workforce Training Program Hub to enhance educational and career opportunities for deaf, hard of hearing, and people with intellectual and developmental disabilities.  
  • $250,000 for Dual Language Education of New Mexico to use the CLAVES model to support the needs of bilingual, multicultural education programs by providing high-quality professional development to teachers serving our emergent bilingual and culturally diverse students.  
  • $213,000 for Young Fathers New Mexico to strengthen and expand community-based services to prevent child abuse and neglect.  
  • $113,000 for the Siembra Leadership High School’s Dual Credit Project that will partner with Central New Mexico Community College to increase dual credit attainment by high school students.   
  • $35,000 for the Pueblo of Laguna Opioid Treatment Project to distribute overdose prevention products and naloxone to reduce overdose rates within the Pueblo. 

Additionally, Senators Heinrich and Ben Ray Luján successfully included funding in the bill for the following 6 projects:   

  • $1,993,000 for the New Mexico Office of Broadband Access and Expansion (OBAE) to build a broadband workforce trailer to provide broadband training in communities across the state.  
  • $1,000,000 for the Gila Regional Medical Center to purchase and install a new MRI machine to better serve constituents in Grant, Hidalgo, and Catron Counties.  
  • $700,000 for the New Mexico Department of Health to create a Primary Care Community Hub to recruit, retain, and support primary care and behavioral health providers throughout New Mexico.  
  • $500,000 for the University of New Mexico to conduct the Measuring Child Maltreatment Project to assess the prevalence of child abuse and neglect in New Mexico.  
  • $350,000 for the Pueblo of Santa Clara to design a behavioral healthcare facility to provide services in an environment that promotes security, health, and healing.  
  • $247,000 for El Puente de Encuentro’s Proyecto Crecer to create a culturally and linguistically diverse pipeline for behavioral health professionals in New Mexico. 

Homeland Security Bill Highlights 

Local Fire Departments: Senator Heinrich secured $676 million for the Assistance to Firefighters Grant (AFG) and Staffing for Adequate Fire and Emergency Response (SAFER) Grant programs at FEMA, which provide funding directly to local fire departments and volunteer firefighters to help them increase the number of trained “front line” firefighters in their communities, update equipment, and improve readiness. These programs have delivered over $15.3 million to local fire departments across New Mexico from San Juan County to Lea County since 2015.    

Protecting Religious Communities and Nonprofits: Senator Heinrich secured $286 million for FEMA's Nonprofit Security Grant Program, which supports critical investments that improve the physical security of at-risk faith-based and charitable organizations.  

Next Generation Warning System: Senator Heinrich secured $52 million for the Next Generation Warning System, which supports the role of public broadcasting stations in sending out alerts and warnings, as well as enabling emergency responder communications.  

Restricting Family Separation: Senator Heinrich secured report language expressing concern over the lasting traumatic harm to children when they are separated from their parents and legal guardians, and strongly discouraging any family separations unless there is a specific and documented determination by a State-licensed child welfare professional that the separation is in the best interests of a child. This language also directs the Department of Homeland Security to publish data on its website to ensure best practices are followed and family separations are minimized and occurring only when in the best interest of the child.  

Child Welfare Professionals: Senator Heinrich secured language requiring the Department of Homeland Security to provide a report to Congress on the status of hiring previously funded licensed child welfare professionals for Customs and Border Protection facilities that house children.  

Border Wall Remediation: Senator Heinrich secured language requiring the Commissioner of Customs and Border Protection to report on its work with the Department of the Interior and the Department of Agriculture to identify harm inflicted by construction of border barriers on private land, Tribal land, flood-prone areas, and wildlife corridors, as well as recommended remediation measures. This language further requires that the process include consultation with local, State, and Tribal governments, landowners, and non-governmental organizations with environmental and cultural preservation expertise.  

Migrant Shelters and Services Program: Senator Heinrich secured $752,000,000 in funding for the Shelter and Services Program, which supports state, local, and non-profit service providers who assist the federal government by providing essential services to individuals and families after they leave Department of Homeland Security custody.  

Multilingual Emergency Notifications: Senator Heinrich secured language directing the Department of Homeland Security to provide a detailed report of expenditures that relate to ensuring limited English proficiency communities receive emergency alerts in their primary language.  

Congressionally Directed Spending 

Senator Heinrich successfully included funding for the following local project in the Homeland Security Appropriations bill:  

  • $750,000 for Bernalillo County to redesign the Bernalillo County Emergency Operations Center and upgrade the information technology systems and displays.  

Additionally, Senators Heinrich and Ben Ray Luján successfully included funding in the bill for the following 5 local projects: 

  • $1,040,000 for the Town of Estancia to plan, design, and construct a FEMA-approved flood retention structure.  
  • $450,000 to Los Alamos County to mitigate fire danger to the Jemez Mountains and the surrounding area by upgrading and undergrounding electric lines and building a water tank and a water pipeline to create a reliable source of water.  
  • $300,000 for the City of Aztec to plan, design, and construct improvements to the City’s flood mitigation plan, including improving existing culverts and storm drainage and stabilizing arroyo banks and detention basins. 
  • $250,000 for the New Mexico Department of Cultural Affairs to clear dead trees and brush and remove invasive species from the Fort Stanton Historic Site in Lincoln County, reducing the risk of catastrophic wildfires in the Lincoln National Forest. 
  • $150,000 to the New Mexico Department of Cultural Affairs to mitigate forest health decline and reduce the risk of catastrophic wildfires at the Bosque Redondo Memorial at Fort Sumner Historic Site.