South Dakota Governor Kristi Noem said Thursday the Biden administration has blocked the state from hosting July 4th fireworks at Mt. Rushmore for a third straight year.
“The best way to celebrate America’s Birthday is with fireworks at Mount Rushmore,” Noem tweeted. “Today, the Biden Administration rejected them. Again.”
2023 marks the third straight year that Noem’s application to host Independence Day fireworks at Mt. Rushmore has been rejected by the National Park Service.
In 2021, the NPS cited reasons relating to the coronavirus, environmental concerns, wildfire risks, and ongoing construction as its reason to deny the permit request to host fireworks at the federal landmark.
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The permit request for fireworks was again rejected in 2022, as a letter from the U.S. Department of Interior, Mount Rushmore National Memorial Superintendent Michelle Wheatley stated that wildfire conditions could create a high likelihood of a fire, also citing opposition from Native American tribes.
“There is ample documented opposition for the Tribes to the 2020 event, and we understand from ongoing meetings with the Tribes that these concerns have not diminished,” Wheatley wrote in the letter.
NATIONAL PARK SERVICE DENIES SOUTH DAKOTA REQUEST FOR MOUNT RUSHMORE INDEPENDENCE DAY FIREWORKS
Fireworks light the sky at Mount Rushmore National Memorial, Friday, July 3, 2020, near Keystone, S.D., after President Donald Trump spoke.
(AP Photo/Alex Brandon)
Noem sued the Biden administration in April 2021, arguing that the Biden administration has “departed from longstanding precedent and reneged on this agreement without any meaningful explanation.”
“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,” Noem said.
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(AP Photo/Phelan M. Ebenhack, File)
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The lawsuit was tossed by a federal judge, who argued that federal officials had the right to block the fireworks from taking place.
During the summer of 2020, under former President Trump, the fireworks were allowed to take place for the first time since 2009.
Fox News’ David Aaro, Brooke Singman, and the Associated Press contributed to this report.