South Dakota Sues US for Banning July 4th Fireworks at Mount Rushmore Fireworks explode above the Mount Rushmore National Monument during an Independence Day event in Keystone, South Dakota, July 3, 2020. (SAUL LOEB/AFP via Getty Images)
By Jeffrey Rodack | Friday, 30 April 2021 12:30 PM
South Dakota Gov. Gov. Kristi Noem filed suit against the Biden administration on Friday after it canceled the July 4th fireworks at Mount Rushmore.
According to Fox News, the suit was filed in the U.S. District Court for the District of South Dakota Central Division.
Noem, a Republican, said in court papers: "Mount Rushmore is the very best place to celebrate America's birthday and all that makes our country special," Noem wrote. "After telling us they'd 'circle back,' the Biden administration has not responded to our request to uphold the Memorandum Agreement between the state of South Dakota and the National Parks Service to host a safe and responsible national celebration and fireworks show."
She maintained the administration has "departed from longstanding precedent and reneged on this agreement without any meaningful explanation."
And she added: "We are asking the court to enjoin the Department of Interior's (DOI) denial of the fireworks permit and order it to issue a permit for the event expeditiously."
The Argus Leader newspaper reported that Noem, who has been outspoken against President Joe Biden, directed her office to file a lawsuit against the National Parks Service after the agency earlier this year rejected permits to hold the July fireworks display.
"I'm going to file a lawsuit against the administration to get the fireworks back," Noem said on Thursday.
Fox News said the National Parks Service had informed South Dakota of its decision to ban the fireworks display last month. The parks service had cited concerns about COVID-19 tribal objections and possible risks for the park.
NPS Regional Director Herbert Frost, in a letter to South Dakota's tourism office, noted "potential risks to the park itself and to the health and safety of employees and visitors associated with the fireworks demonstration."
He said they "continue to be a concern and are still being evaluated as a result of the 2020 event."
The 2020 event was the first to occur at Mt. Rushmore in a decade. It was attended by then-President Donald Trump.
Rep. Dusty Johnson, R-S.D., told Newsmax TV last month that Biden was "making a terrible decision" in not allowing a fireworks display at Mount Rushmore on the Fourth.
"President Biden is making a terrible decision here," Johnson told "National Report." "There isn't a lot that all of America agrees on these days, but you could get most of us behind the idea of blowing stuff up in the air before … Mount Rushmore."
He added, "The president's team has said they don't want fireworks for two reasons. No. 1: [COVID-19]. No. 2: drought. I would tell you, it can get dry in the Black Hills but we don't know how much it's going to rain between now and July 4th, so that seems like a dodge on their part."