Bicameral Legislation to Authorize Permanent Land Transfer for Expansion of Black Hills National Cemetery Reintroduced in First Week of 115th Congress
January 5, 2016
WASHINGTON — Members of the South Dakota congressional delegation, which includes U.S. Sens. John Thune (R-S.D.) and Mike Rounds (R-S.D.) and U.S. Rep. Kristi Noem (R-S.D.), were joined today by U.S. Sen. Mike Enzi (R-Wyo.) in reintroducing companion versions of the Black Hills National Cemetery Boundary Expansion Act, legislation that would facilitate a permanent land transfer of approximately 200 acres of Bureau of Land Management land to expand the Black Hills National Cemetery outside of Sturgis, South Dakota.
“For decades, the Black Hills National Cemetery has been a place for military families to remember and honor loved ones who have served,” said Thune. “The land on which the cemetery sits is as majestic as it is hallowed, and by expanding the cemetery’s boundary, we can ensure that our military heroes will have a place to rest in peace for generations to come.”
“It is important that South Dakota’s veterans know that the Black Hills National Cemetery will be able to accommodate them for generations to come,” said Rounds. “I hope this noncontroversial proposal to expand the cemetery’s boundary moves quickly through Congress.”
“Our nation owes deep and eternal gratitude to those who have served and the families that have stood beside them,” said Noem. “By allowing for the permanent expansion of the Black Hills National Cemetery, veterans and military families for generations to come can be assured that our country will forever honor their courageous service and tremendous sacrifices.”
“Our veterans have made great sacrifices for their country and it is important that we can provide them with an honorable resting place,” said Enzi. “Wyoming is one of the few remaining states without a VA National Cemetery, and it is therefore critical to ensure that those in neighboring states have adequate capacity. This legislation would provide the needed land to ensure that the Black Hills National Cemetery can continue to serve the region for decades as a place for military families to honor their loved ones. I hope Congress will work quickly to pass this noncontroversial legislation.”
Under current law, the Federal Land Policy and Management Act limits transfers like this one to a lifespan of 20 years. The Black Hills National Cemetery Boundary Expansion Act would make this particular transfer permanent.
Thune, Rounds, Noem, and Enzi first introduced companion versions of the Black Hills National Cemetery Boundary Expansion Act in 2015, and the House version passed its chamber in September 2016. The bill was nearing passage in the Senate at the end of 114th Congress, which is why the members quickly reintroduced the bill during the first week of the 115th Congress.