Governor Lujan Grisham signs bipartisan Hermit’s Peak-Calf Canyon fire recovery bill
SANTA FE – Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham on Monday signed Senate Bill 6 alongside sponsors Sen. Pete Campos, Sen. Liz Stefanics, Rep. Ambrose Castellano and Rep. Joseph L. Sanchez as well as local and state officials. Senate Bill 6 will provide the Department of Finance and Administration (DFA) the ability to distribute $100 million in zero-percent interest loans to local governments or political subdivisions who have eligible FEMA Public Assistance projects from the 2022 Hermit’s Peak Calf Canyon wildfires. The loans will ultimately be reimbursed by the federal government.
The loans must be used to replace or repair public infrastructure damaged by the fire, flooding or debris flow caused by the fires. The legislation appropriates $100 million from the General Fund to DFA’s Local Government Division for use in FY’s 2023 and 2024.
“This legislation speaks loud and clear: New Mexicans come first,” said Gov. Lujan Grisham. “The passage of this critical bipartisan legislation exemplifies how swiftly we can come together to serve the people of New Mexico, providing immediate assistance to communities affected by these devastating fires.”
“As Norteños y Norteñas rebuild after the Calf Canyon and Hermits Peak Fire, the aid from Senate Bill 6 is essential,” said Sen. Pete Campos. “As we wait for federal regulations to catch up to our reality, the state of New Mexico is stepping up to fill a critical gap in funding for northern New Mexico. At the end of the day, somos una familia.”
“The communities that have gone through the traumatic Calf Canyon and Hermits Peak Fire have suffered enough,” said Sen. Elizabeth “Liz” Stefanics. “Governor Lujan Grisham’s signing of this bill will offer those communities peace of mind and sets us on the path to rebuild. I thank my colleagues in both chambers for getting this crucial aid bill across the finish line.”
“The communities impacted by the worst fire in New Mexico’s history have demonstrated their incredible resilience throughout this unprecedented crisis, but they may never be able to fully recover without our support,” said Rep. Ambrose Castellano. “I am grateful to all my colleagues in the House and Senate and to Governor Lujan Grisham for making sure providing this relief was one of the first priorities of the session.”
“This funding provides essential relief to these traditional rural communities whose homes and livelihoods were devastated by the Hermit’s Peak-Calf Canyon Fire,” said Rep. Joseph Sanchez. “It will take years for these New Mexico communities to recover, but this funding puts us on the right path to ensure the historic stewards of this land can thrive for generations.”
“This was an extraordinary event in our community, and I was always so comforted that the Governor was in town, on the ground. When we needed to get water to people in Las Vegas, the governor was there to help,” said Las Vegas Mayor Louie Trujillo. “Likewise, I am thankful for her recent efforts and those of the Legislature in passing and signing this important legislation.”
“On behalf of the San Miguel County board of commissioners, the managers and staff, I’d like to say thank you to the governor and Legislature for everything you’ve done for us,” said San Miguel County Commission Chair Harold Garcia. “At the end of the day, working together makes things much better for us.”
“The people of Mora are very grateful for this bill, and the funding will really help Mora County,” said Mora County Commission Chair George Trujillo. “It’s been hard, but the people are grateful.”
The loans from DFA are intended to jump-start the rebuilding of public infrastructure such as roads, bridges, and acequias, and are not available to individuals who are covered under the Hermit’s Peak Calf Canyon Assistance Act. Loan requests to DFA must have prior FEMA approval. The money will be reimbursed to the state after FEMA reimburses for the completed projects.