SIOUX FALLS, S.D. – Gov. Kristi Noem is turning to the federal court system in hopes of keeping fireworks at Mt. Rushmore on Independence Day.
The Republican governor, who has been outspoken against President Joe Biden, told a Watertown crowd Thursday that she’s directed her office to file a lawsuit against the National Parks Service after the agency earlier this year rejected permits to hold the July fireworks display in the Black Hills.
“I’m going to file a lawsuit against the administration to get the fireworks back,” Noem said.
Noem sent a letter earlier this month to the White House advocating for the Fourth of July fireworks celebration, asking that a Memorandum of Agreement between NPS and South Dakota put in place before last year’s Independence Day fireworks be upheld.
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The 2020 event was the first to occur at the national monument in a decade and was attended by then-President Donald Trump. It generated protests and this spring was blocked from taking place by the National Parks Service, citing concerns over tribal opposition, the COVID-19 and environmental and fire dangers.
But that reasoning doesn’t suffice for Noem, who said Thursday that the state will argue that the memorandum was pulled for political reason.
Noem’s spokesman Ian Fury confirmed Noem’s comments to the Argus Leader following the speaking event at a local Rotary Club meeting, but wouldn’t provide further details.
“Stay tuned,” he said.