N.M. Congressional Delegation Calls On President Biden To Grant State's Request For Additional Federal Assistance, Waive Cost Share Of Disaster Costs

WASHINGTON – 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 additional federal assistance for the increasing costs to save lives and protect New Mexicans’ homes.

New Mexico’s Congressional delegation previously requested that the Biden administration immediately approve a Major Disaster Declaration for New Mexico to open up access to Public Assistance and Individual Assistance funds from FEMA, which was swiftly approved by President Biden. The lawmakers continue to call on the administration to waive the 25% non-federal cost share requirement for federal assistance.

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 and for authorization for Category A and full range of emergency protective measures under Category B. It is imperative that the federal government provides full support to New Mexican communities to protect and recover from the ongoing wildfire devastation.”

Read the full text of the letter below or by clicking here.

Dear President Biden,

Thank you for your quick action in issuing a major disaster declaration as a result of the ongoing wildfires burning in New Mexico since April 5, 2022. While federal assistance is already reaching 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 debris removal (Category A) and the full range of emergency protective measures (Category B).

Since April 5, 2022, wildfires related to DR-4652-NM have burned nearly 290,000 acres, forced dozens of thousands of New Mexicans to evacuate their homes and businesses, caused two fatalities, and destroyed hundreds of homes – many in which residents and families had 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 and for authorization for Category A and full range of emergency protective measures under Category B. 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.