New Mexico Delegation Requests Disaster Declaration To Help Pueblo Of Acoma Recover From October Storms

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, U.S. Senators Tom Udall and Martin Heinrich and U.S. Reps. Steve Pearce, Ben Ray Luján and Michelle Lujan Grisham sent a letter to President Trump urging him to respond quickly to a request for disaster assistance for the Pueblo of Acoma.

The Pueblo of Acoma is asking the federal government for help with hazard mitigation and to repair public infrastructure damaged by severe weather and flooding that occurred between Oct. 4 and Oct. 6, 2017. The storm caused extreme damage to tribal infrastructure such as roads, bridges, and sewer lines. The piled-up debris and wreckage created treacherous driving conditions along 10 miles of roads and bridges, isolating parts of the Pueblo lands from the rest of the territory. 

“These conditions directly impacted the everyday lives of the Pueblo’s community members, including individuals who were looking to gather firewood to heat their homes, and cattle farmers who were trying to ensure grazing areas were sufficient for their cattle needs,” the lawmakers wrote. “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.”

According to Pueblo of Acoma Governor Kurt Riley’s letter requesting the disaster declaration, damages resulting from the storms have currently been assessed at $2 million, seven times above the eligible damage required for public assistance consideration through major disaster declaration.

The full letter is available here and below.

December 5, 2017 

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

Dear President Trump:
 
We respectfully request that you take prompt action on Pueblo of Acoma Governor Kurt Riley’s request for a major disaster declaration for severe weather and flooding that occurred in the Pueblo of Acoma, New Mexico, between October 4th through 6th, 2017.
This severe storm caused extreme damage to tribal infrastructure such as roads, bridges, and sewer lines. Furthermore, the piled-up debris and wreckage created treacherous driving conditions along 10 miles of roads and bridges, isolating parts of the Pueblo lands from the rest of the territory. These conditions directly impacted the everyday lives of the Pueblo’s community members, including individuals who were looking to gather firewood to heat their homes, and cattle farmers who were trying to ensure grazing areas were sufficient for their cattle needs.
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