- Associated Press - Saturday, August 15, 2015

RAPID CITY, S.D. (AP) - South Dakota’s U.S. senators are pushing to add nearly 200 acres of land to expand the Black Hills National Cemetery to make room for future veterans.

Sens. Mike Rounds and John Thune introduced a bill earlier this month that would permanently transfer the federal land to the 100-acre cemetery in Sturgis.

“Right now these 200 acres will not be used or needed for a number of years,” Rounds told South Dakota Public Broadcasting. “But what it really does is guarantees the permanent opportunity for veterans in our area to be able to be . placed in the Black Hills National Cemetery.”

The land that would be added borders the existing cemetery grounds to the north and is held by the Bureau of Land Management. The bill would transfer administrative jurisdiction over the land to the Secretary of Veterans Affairs for inclusion in the cemetery.

The cemetery opened in 1948 and currently has about 16,000 burials, Rounds said.



Similar land transfers are generally limited to 20 years of use. Permanent land transfers require congressional approval, Rounds said.

Cemetery director Srey Austin said she doesn’t expect the land to be needed for decades.

The bill was referred to the Senate Energy and Natural Resources committee. It still must be referred to the House or Senate as a whole.

Rounds said he and Thune don’t anticipate any opposition.

Copyright © 2019 The Washington Times, LLC.

The Washington Times Comment Policy

The Washington Times welcomes your comments on Spot.im, our third-party provider. Please read our Comment Policy before commenting.

 

Click to Read More and View Comments

Click to Hide