NEW: Noem plans to sue for fireworks at Mount Rushmore

Associated Press

April 30, 2021

SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (AP) — South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem will take her effort to see fireworks shot over Mount Rushmore on Independence Day to federal court in a lawsuit against the National Parks Service.

The Republican governor told the Watertown Rotary Club on Thursday of plans to sue after the park service declined to continue holding a fireworks display at the monument, citing safety concerns and objections from local Native American tribes.

“Mount Rushmore is the very best place to celebrate America’s birthday and all that makes our country special,” said Governor Kristi Noem. “After telling us they’d ‘circle back,’ the Biden administration has not responded to our request to uphold the Memorandum of Agreement between the State of South Dakota and the National Parks Service (NPS) to host a safe and responsible national celebration and fireworks show.”

“Unfortunately, the new administration departed from precedent and reneged on this agreement without any meaningful explanation,” continued Noem. “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 governor pushed last year to return fireworks to Mount Rushmore after a decade-long hiatus, saying the event is a way to highlight the state’s tourism draw.