South Dakota Governor: Biden Admin Won't Issue Mount Rushmore Fireworks Permits, Hasn't Provided Explanation

South Dakota Governor: Biden Admin Won't Issue Mount Rushmore Fireworks Permits, Hasn't Provided Explanation
South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem addresses the Conservative Political Action Conference held in the Hyatt Regency in Orlando, Fla., on Feb. 27, 2021. (Joe Raedle/Getty Images)
Jack Phillips

South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem said the Biden administration hasn't provided an explanation for canceling the massive fireworks display at Mount Rushmore.

President Donald Trump, she said, brought back the Mount Rushmore fireworks display after it was rescinded under the Obama administration, which cited environmental concerns at the time.

"We had the fireworks at Mount Rushmore for years,” Noem, a Republican, told Fox News last week. “It wasn’t until President Obama came into office that they took it away."

Noem, who filed a lawsuit against the Biden administration, suggested that "political reasons" were behind the move to not permit the display.

President Joe Biden, she said, "just decided not to let us have it" and then "refuse[d] to issue us the permit to be on that federal property right there."

But, according to the governor, that runs counter to the federal Administrative Procedures Act, which forces the government to provide a reason for why the permit was denied. The act, implemented in 1946, "includes requirements for publishing notices of proposed and final rulemaking in the Federal Register, and provides opportunities for the public to comment on notices of proposed rulemaking," according to a website run by the Environmental Protection Agency.

"We met the fire danger protocols. We’ve consulted with the state, local and federal officials. We’ve done the consultations with the tribes. We met every single protocol," Noem added. "There was no reason to deny us those permits unless it was for political reasons."

Last month, U.S. District Judge Roberto Lange, an Obama appointee, ruled that Noem's lawsuit to allow fireworks at Mount Rushmore is unlikely to succeed and denied her an injuction, arguing that the Biden administration's permit rejection wasn't politically motivated. The ruling made note of the federal National Parks Service having denied the permit over concerns about COVID-19, a possible risk for wildfires, and undermining relations with Native Americans in the area.

“The concern about COVID-19 spread, from the perspective of someone writing on March 11, 2021, was very real and based on relevant data,” Lange wrote in his 36-page decision. Noem said she would appeal the decision.

The governor and other plaintiffs, in their lawsuit requesting an injunction, argued that millions of dollars spent on advertising and other costs related to the display would be lost if the event weren't held.

A number of cities and municipalities across West Coast states including California, Oregon, and Washington decided against having fireworks displays due to an elevated risk of fire amid drought conditions.

The Epoch Times has reached out to the White House for comment.

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