WASHINGTON (June 7, 2022) – U.S. Senators Martin Heinrich (D-N.M.) and Ben Ray Luján (D-N.M.) and U.S. Representatives Teresa Leger Fernández (D-N.M.), Melanie Stansbury (D-N.M.), and Yvette Herrell (R-N.M.) are calling on President Joe Biden to approve a request from Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham for expanded federal assistance eligibilities for Colfax, Mora, and San Miguel Counties. The lawmakers continue to call on the administration to waive the 25% non-federal cost share requirement for federal assistance.
After requests from the New Mexico delegation and Governor Lujan Grisham, President Biden swiftly approved a Major Disaster Declaration for Colfax, Lincoln, Mora, San Miguel, and Valencia Counties.
The State is now requesting that the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) immediately authorize federal funding for Category C-G damages in the Colfax, Mora, and San Miguel counties.
This would expand assistance to cover the following types of FEMA assistance:
- Category C: Roads and bridges
- Category D: Water control facilities
- Category E: Public buildings and contents
- Category F: Public utilities
- Category G: Parks, recreational, and other facilities
In a letter to President Biden, the lawmakers write “Given the severity and life and death nature of this crisis, we urge you to act without delay and approve the State of New Mexico’s request for 100 percent coverage of federal assistance.”
Read the full text of the letter below or by clicking here.
Dear President Biden,
Thank you for issuing a major disaster declaration as a result of the ongoing wildfires burning in New Mexico since April 5, 2022. While federal assistance has significantly aided our communities, the State of New Mexico will need the federal government’s full support to recover from the devastation of the wildfires. As such, we write in support of the State’s request for the federal government to 1) waive the non-federal cost-share requirement for the entire disaster period under DR-4652-NM; and 2) authorize federal funding for Category C-G damages in the Colfax, Mora, and San Miguel counties.
Since April 5, 2022, wildfires related to DR-4652-NM have burned over 300,000 acres, forced thousands of New Mexicans to evacuate their homes and businesses, caused two fatalities, and destroyed hundreds of homes where families have lived for generations. Much of the destruction has occurred in rural, high and persistent poverty rate communities that simply cannot afford to take on the economic strain imposed by the wildfires. Given the severity and life and death nature of this crisis, we urge you to act without delay and approve the State of New Mexico’s request for 100 percent coverage of federal assistance.
Additionally, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and the State of New Mexico recently conducted a preliminary damage assessment that identified Category C-G damages in the counties of Colfax, Mora, and San Miguel. We respectfully request FEMA to authorize federal funding for permanent work addressing Categories C-G damages in the aforementioned counties. It is imperative that the federal government provides full support to New Mexican communities to protect and recover from the ongoing wildfire devastation.
Thank you for your consideration to this important request.