Senators Mike Rounds and John Thune brought the Black Hills National Cemetery Boundary Expansion Act to the Senate floor. Its goal is to permanently transfer 200 acres of federal land to the 100 acres that currently make up the Black Hills National Cemetery.
Senator Rounds explains that the move is strictly a long-term plan to ensure that area veterans will always have a space for their final resting place.
“Right now these 200 acres will not be used or needed for a number of years,” Rounds observes. “The cemetery itself opened back in 1948 and it currently has about 16,000 burials on about 100 acres right now. 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.”
Similar land transfers are generally limited to 20 years of use. Permanent transfer of such land, notes Rounds, requires Congressional approval.
Senator Rounds adds that he and Senator Thune don’t anticipate any opposition to the legislation.
Cemetery director Srey Austin assures the public that she doesn’t expect the land to be needed for decades.