U.S. Rep. Kristi Noem (R-SD) and U.S. Sen. Mike Rounds (R-SD) commended the president’s signing into law on May 25 of their Black Hills National Cemetery Boundary Expansion Act.

“After years of work, I am truly grateful to secure a permanent expansion of the Black Hills National Cemetery,” said Rep. Noem on May 26. “I thank President Trump for working with me and the South Dakota delegation to ensure veterans for generations to come will receive the distinguished and peaceful resting place they deserve.”

The new law will facilitate a permanent land transfer of approximately 200 acres of federal land to expand the Black Hills National Cemetery located near Sturgis, S.D., among other provisions.

Rep. Noem attended the Black Hills National Cemetery Memorial Day Service on May 28 and prior to the event said, “This is a weekend that we’re thinking a lot about our veterans, and particularly those who made the ultimate sacrifice.”

In his weekly column, posted online May 19, Sen. Rounds noted that the enacted legislation will double the size of the Black Hills National Cemetery.

“This land in the beautiful Black Hills of South Dakota will be the final resting place for thousands of veterans,” the senator wrote. “Passing this bill is a small way for us to show our gratitude to them and their families.”

Sen. Rounds also pointed out that the Black Hills National Cemetery, which was dedicated by the U.S. Army in 1948, was projected to run out of burial space by 2031. “But this permanent land transfer will make sure generations of South Dakota veterans will have a place to rest peacefully,” he wrote.

The Federal Land Policy and Management Act currently limits such land transfers to a lifespan of 20 years, although in this case, the additional acreage transferred to the Black Hills National Cemetery will be permanent, according to a statement from Rep. Noem’s office.

The U.S. Senate approved its measure, S. 35, on Dec. 21, 2017 by voice vote. The U.S. House of Representatives unanimously passed the Senate’s version of the bill, 407-0, on May 16. Rep. Noem initially had introduced legislation to expand the cemetery in 2015.

Do you want to sign up for my E-Newsletter?