WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Martin Heinrich (D-N.M.), a member of the Senate Committee on Appropriations, has secured funding in the Omnibus Appropriations Agreement for Fiscal Year 2023 (FY23) to support critical U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) programs playing a key role in recovery and rebuilding efforts for communities and land managers impacted by this year’s Hermit’s Peak/Calf Canyon Fire.
The FY23 disaster supplemental funding includes $925 million for the Emergency Watershed Protection Program and $27 million for the Emergency Forest Restoration Program. The funding will be available nationwide, but is expected to cover the majority of anticipated program needs in New Mexico with a 100% federal cost share for projects within the Hermit’s Peak/Calf Canyon Fire recovery area.
The appropriations bill also includes language to allow for the repairs and replacement of the water treatment facility in Las Vegas, New Mexico, to ensure the community has access to clean drinking water.
“These USDA programs provide communities and land managers with the federal support they need to recover and become more resilient in the face of increasingly devastating natural disasters. That’s why I rallied support to secure this funding so that we can begin to adequately address program needs in New Mexico,” said Heinrich. “I’m also proud to secure an additional $1.45 billion for the Hermit’s Peak/Calf Canyon Fire Assistance Fund, which will help repair and replace the Las Vegas Wastewater Treatment Facility. These investments are just the beginning. I remain committed to restoring the health of our forests and watersheds and making sure that New Mexico families and communities are made whole again."
In a bipartisan letter
last month, Heinrich called on Senate Appropriations Chair Patrick Leahy and Ranking Member Richard Shelby to prioritize adequately funding the Emergency Watershed Protection Program and the Emergency Forest Restoration Program at levels that meet USDA estimates. Heinrich also garnered additional support from U.S. Office of Management and Budget (OMB) Director Shalanda Young who included these programs in OMB’s disaster supplemental request.
The FY23 Omnibus Appropriations Agreement also includes an additional $1.45 billion championed by New Mexico’s Congressional Democrats for the Hermit’s Peak/Calf Canyon Fire Assistance Fund at the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA).
This fund was established by New Mexico’s Congressional Democrats in the Hermit’s Peak/Calf Canyon Fire Assistance Act
passed in the Continuing Resolution in September. The previous spending agreement includes $2.5 billion for FEMA to establish and carry out the requirements of the bill. The additional funding included in the FY23 Omnibus brings the Fire Assistance Fund to a total of $3.95 billion.
The Hermit’s Peak/Calf Canyon Fire Assistance Act is led by U.S. Senator Ben Ray Luján (D-N.M.) and U.S. Representative Teresa Leger Fernández (D-N.M.), and co-sponsored by Senator Heinrich and U.S. Representative Melanie Stansbury (D-N.M.).