WASHINGTON, D.C. - U.S. Senators Tom Udall and Martin Heinrich and U.S. Reps. Steve Pearce, Ben Ray Luján and Michelle Lujan Grisham announced a major disaster declaration has been issued for the Pueblo of Acoma to provide federal aid for the severe storm and flooding that occurred between October 4 and October 6, 2017.
The lawmakers sent a letter to the President earlier this month asking for prompt action on the Pueblo of Acoma’s request for help with hazard mitigation and to repair public infrastructure damaged by severe weather and flooding. 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.
“This funding will provide relief for the Pueblo of Acoma as they recover from severe storms and flooding, which damaged crucial infrastructure like roads, bridges, and sewer lines,” Udall said. “I appreciate that the administration responded swiftly to the New Mexico delegation’s request for this urgently needed assistance. I’ll keep working to ensure that the federal government honors its obligations to Tribes and works to protect the land, resources and livelihoods of Native communities like the Pueblo of Acoma."
“The October storm had a severe impact on the everyday lives of the Acoma community. I’m pleased our call for federal assistance was promptly answered to help the Pueblo recover and rebuild,” Heinrich said. “When disaster strikes in New Mexico, it requires this kind of full and coordinated approach to provide affected communities the support they need.”
“In October, severe weather and flooding caused devastating damage to the Pueblo of Acoma. The government has a responsibility to assist in these recovery efforts for the future success of the Pueblo,” Pearce said. “I thank my colleagues in the New Mexico Delegation and the Administration for guaranteeing federal disaster assistance will go to these communities in need of help. The livelihoods of Native American communities in New Mexico, and across the nation, relies on continued access to resources, land, and infrastructure.”
“This funding will enable the Pueblo of Acoma to begin the recovery process from the severe storms that impacted the community in October,” Luján said. “I am pleased that our call for federal aid has been successful and grateful for the continued work of my colleagues to ensure Native American communities in New Mexico have the resources they need.”
“I am encouraged to see the federal government uphold their responsibilities to assist the Pueblo of Acoma recover from the damage caused by severe floods and storms last fall,” Lujan Grisham said. “Close collaboration with tribal leadership and local stakeholders will be necessary to ensure that affected communities can quickly repair damaged roads, bridges and other infrastructure.”
The disaster declaration provides federal funding to the Pueblo of Acoma and to certain private nonprofit organizations on a cost-sharing basis for emergency work and the repair or replacement of facilities damaged by the severe storms and flooding. According to Pueblo of Acoma Governor Kurt Riley’s letter requesting the declaration, damages resulting from the storm has currently been assessed at $2 million.