The U.S. House of Representatives unanimously passed U.S. Rep. Kristi Noem’s Black Hills National Cemetery Boundary Expansion Act.
If the act is enacted, the legislation would facilitate a permanent land transfer of approximately 200 acres of Bureau of Land Management land to the jurisdiction of the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs - expanding the cemetery just outside Sturgis.
“Our veterans and their families have made tremendous sacrifices so our people could remain safe and our freedoms secure,” said Noem. “Securing a restful piece of hallowed ground for these patriotic men and women is a small token of gratitude we can offer as a nation.”
Noem stressed the importance of the expansion in order to honor veterans now and in the future.
“We honor the legacy of these veterans and many others at the Black Hills National Cemetery, but the facility is not going to have the room it needs to continue serving future veterans without expansion,” explained Noem.
Under current law, the Federal Land Policy and Management Act limits transfers to a lifespan of 20 years. The Black Hills National Cemetery Boundary Expansion Act would make this transfer permanent.
The Act was first introduced by members of the regional congressional delegation in 2015. The legislation was passed by the House in 2016 and was nearing passage in the Senate at the end of that year. U.S. Sens. John Thune, Mike Rounds and Mike Enzi joined Noem in re-introducing this legislation in 2017.