Noem signs letter urging Biden to reconsider Mount Rushmore fireworks

Gov. Kristi Noem (R, S.D.) signs a letter to President Biden resubmitting a request to allow an...
Gov. Kristi Noem (R, S.D.) signs a letter to President Biden resubmitting a request to allow an Independence Day fireworks show at Mount Rushmore.(Ian Fury/@IanTFury)
Updated: Jun. 16, 2021 at 3:10 PM CDT
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PIERRE, S.D. (Dakota News Now) - South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem has sent a letter to President Joe Biden urging him to reconsider allowing an Independence Day fireworks show at Mount Rushmore.

Noem sent the letter to Biden Tuesday after the president announced he is holding a 4th of July fireworks show at the White House for first responders and essential workers.

The governor called Biden’s move “hypocritical,” contrasting it to the National Park Service’s decision against allowing fireworks at Mount Rushmore.

The NPS cited a number of reasons for its decision, including environmental concerns, wildfire risks, opposition from tribes, and health and safety of staff. However, Noem called the decision “arbitrary,” and sued to overturn it. A judge recently ruled against Noem in that lawsuit.

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Noem’s letter pointed to a statement from the White House Office of Intergovernmental Affairs welcoming the nation to “join us by hosting your own events to honor freedom, salute those who have been serving on the frontlines, and celebrate our progress in fighting the pandemic.” She said the Mount Rushmore fireworks display would have served that purpose.

In addition, Noem asked for Biden’s blessing for an Independence Day celebration next year at Mount Rushmore.

Regardless of NPS permission, it is still unclear whether a fireworks show would have happened at Mount Rushmore this summer. When Noem previously laid out her plan for a fireworks show, she gave a number of reasons why the display could later be cancelled, including if there was a high risk of wildfire. The National Weather Service’s drought monitor shows much of western South Dakota - including areas near Mount Rushmore - as abnormally dry or in a moderate drought. The USDA’s website shows most of the Black Hills currently under campfire and fireworks restrictions.

Read the full letter here.

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