South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem Sues Biden Administration Over Mount Rushmore Fireworks Ban

South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem has filed a lawsuit against the Biden Administration over National Park Service officials’ decision to cancel a fireworks display at Mount Rushmore this coming Independence Day.

The lawsuit, which was filed on Friday, April 30, in U.S. District Court, invokes past fireworks celebrations and words from Founding Father John Adams about “bonfires” and “bells” on the nation’s Fourth of July.

But Noem’s attorneys’ legal argument focuses primarily on the Administrative Procedure Act, arguing that the Biden administration made an “arbitrary and capricious” decision when pulling the pyrotechnic show from the Black Hills granite sculpture.

“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.”

“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,” she added.

Last year, South Dakota hosted the fireworks display for the first time since 2009, after being canceled due to wildfire risks.

The National Parks Service (NPS) notified South Dakota of its decision to ban the fireworks display last month, citing concerns about COVID-19, tribal objections, and alleged danger to the park itself.


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