South Dakota

Bill To Double Size Of Black Hills Veterans Cemetery Passes Senate

Photo: Herb Ryan/Custer Free Press

December 22, 2017

WASHINGTON — U.S. Sens. John Thune (R-S.D.), Mike Rounds (R-S.D.), and Mike Enzi (R-Wyo.) issued the following statements after the Senate passed their bill, the Black Hills National Cemetery Boundary Expansion Act (S. 35), 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. A companion version, which was introduced by U.S. Kristi Noem (R-S.D.), passed the House Representatives earlier this year.

“I’m glad the Senate unanimously approved this commonsense legislation that will allow the Black Hills National Cemetery to continue being a place for military families to remember and honor loved ones who have served,” said Thune. “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. We still have some work ahead us, and I’m hopeful we’ll be able to get this bill to the president as soon as possible.”

“It is important for South Dakota’s veterans to know that the Black Hills National Cemetery will have space for them for generations to come,” said Rounds. “I’m glad our legislation to expand the cemetery’s boundary passed the Senate and look forward to rectifying our bill with the House-passed version so we can get it to the president’s desk in a timely manner.”

“I applaud the Senate for passing this legislation to expand the Black Hills National Cemetery,” said Enzi. “Since Wyoming is one of the few states that does not have a VA National Cemetery, it is important that surrounding states have the capacity to ensure an honorable resting place for Wyoming’s veterans for years to come. That is why it is critical that Black Hills National Cemetery can continue to serve the region for decades as a place for military families to honor their loved ones.”

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.

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