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Bill Reintroduced to Transfer Federal Land to Custer
South Dakota Ag Connection - 01/11/2019

U.S. Sens. John Thune (R-S.D.) and Mike Rounds (R-S.D.) and U.S. Rep. Dusty Johnson (R-S.D.) Thurs reintroduced Senate and House companion versions of the Custer County Airport Conveyance Act, legislation that would transfer approximately 66 acres of Black Hills National Forest System land to Custer County. The U.S. Forest Service (USFS) has agreed to sell this land to the Custer County Airport, giving it full ownership of all acres the airport occupies. A portion of the Custer County Airport currently occupies USFS land under a longstanding USFS agreement. Both parties have agreed to the terms of the property sale and transfer that are specified in the legislation.

"We're glad to reintroduce this commonsense bill in the opening days of this new Congress because we believe it's important to give Custer County Airport full ownership of all the land on which the local airport currently operates," said Thune, Rounds, and Johnson. "We've diligently consulted with all of the involved parties -- the U.S. Forest Service, Custer County Commissioners, and the airport -- and everyone agrees that this legislation is the most efficient way to achieve this goal."

This land transfer is necessary so Custer County can make additional improvements to its airport. Custer County has agreed to pay the USFS the appraised value of the land and all costs associated with the conveyance.

Thune, Rounds, and former U.S. Rep. Kristi Noem (R-S.D.) first introduced this legislation in January 2018. With the beginning of the 116th Congress earlier this month, the delegation reintroduced identical versions of the original bills so they could again be considered by both chambers.

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