WASHINGTON, D.C. (KELO-AM) Rep. Kristi Noem today led the U.S. House of Representatives in barring the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs from using any funds to conduct Environmental Impact Statements (EIS) on facilities like the VA hospital in Hot Springs, S.D. During consideration of the FY2015 Military Construction and Veterans Affairs appropriations bill, Rep. Noem offered an amendment to prohibit funds from being used to conduct an EIS on facilities that have been designated as National Historic Landmarks. The amendment was adopted unanimously and the appropriations bill was approved, as amended, by a vote of 416 to 1.
“The Department of Veterans Affairs has a track record of neglecting historically significant properties, like the one found in Hot Springs,” said Rep. Noem. “This amendment is simple and straightforward. It protects rural veterans’ access to health care by ensuring no funds go to Environmental Impact Statements that may lead to the closure of critical rural hospitals.”
Ensuring quality health care for Veterans at the Hot Springs VA has been an ongoing battle for Rep. Noem. Rep. Noem has met many times with VA Secretary Eric Shinseki, sent letters regarding data discrepancies, and is working to host Secretary Shinseki for a tour of the Hot Springs VA. Additionally, she led the House in passing H.R. 3521 earlier this year, which would preserve the Hot Springs VA for FY2014.
“The Hot Springs VA Hospital has long provided critical care to South Dakota veterans,” said Rep. Noem. “By neglecting properties like this, the VA is doing a disservice to the many veterans currently served by the facility.”http://noem.house.gov/index.cfm/2014/4/noem-leads-house-in-barring-va-from-funding-eis-studies-on-facilities-like-the-hot-springs-va-hospital