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Members of the South Dakota, Wyoming and Nebraska congressional delegations made the following statement yesterday in support of the Department of Veterans Affairs’ (VA) decision to extend the public comment period on the environmental impact statement regarding proposals for reconfiguration of the Black Hills Health Care System (BHHCS) until February 5, 2016. Sens. Mike Rounds (R-S.D.), John Thune (R-S.D.), Mike Enzi (R-Wyo.), John Barrasso (R-Wyo.), and Deb Fischer (R-Neb.) and U.S. Representatives Kristi Noem (R-S.D.), Cynthia Lummis (R-Wyo.) and Adrian Smith (R-Neb.), sent a letter to VA Secretary Robert McDonald earlier this month requesting the extension.

“We are pleased that Secretary McDonald listened to our concerns and extended the public comment period for the VA’s proposed changes to the BHHCS,” said the Members. “Any reconfiguration will impact veterans in the tri-state area who rely on the system for their health care needs. For this reason, it is critical that area veterans and stakeholders have adequate opportunity to voice their opinions regarding the future of its facilities.”

On October 28, 2015, the VA released its draft environmental impact statement (EIS) with respect to the BHHCS. The delegations’ letter to Secretary McDonald requesting an extension of the comment period can be found here.