- The Washington Times - Friday, April 30, 2021

South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem is suing the Biden administration over the cancellation of the Mount Rushmore Fireworks Celebration for July 4.

”Mount Rushmore is the very best place to celebrate America’s birthday and all that makes our country special,” Ms. Noem said Wednesday in a statement announcing the lawsuit.

“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,” she added. “Unfortunately, the new administration departed from precedent and reneged on this agreement without any meaningful explanation.”

According to the 25-page lawsuit, the Department of Interior sent a letter to Ms. Noem, saying the event would not go on as planned due to the risk of COVID-19 spread, the potential environmental impact, and the opposition by tribal leaders.

“The letter made no attempt to quantify or otherwise characterize the risk level for this year’s planned event or how it differed from the risk level for the exact same event last year, which DOI approved,” the lawsuit read.

Ms. Noem is asking the court to halt the Department of Interior’s rejection of a fireworks permit.

The governor held the celebration last year during the coronavirus pandemic, saying it was done “safely and responsibly.”

The event also had a positive impact on the state’s economy, according to the governor’s office.

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