The Biden administration is refusing to allow a fireworks display at the Mount Rushmore National Monument near Rapid City, S.D., for the second year in a row, in a decision that was blasted by GOP Gov. Kristi Noem.
In a letter dated Monday, the National Park Service told the South Dakota Department of Tourism that its request for a permit to hold a fireworks display had been denied.
“After careful consideration, the NPS has determined that we are unable to grant your request for this permit to hold a special event with fireworks at the Memorial,” the letter said.
“Based on the information provided in the application, we have determined that multiple such criteria are present for the requested event, each of which would be independently sufficient to deny the request for a permit,” the letter continued.
According to the Park Service, concerns about wildfires along with opposition to the display from Native American tribes were the driving factors behind the agency’s decision.
The letter stated that “fireworks are viewed by multiple Tribes as an adverse effect to the traditional cultural landscape” and cited a Tribal Cultural Survey conducted in May 2021 that found “ample opposition from the Tribes” to the last fireworks display, which took place in 2020.
Then-President Donald Trump’s administration agreed to allow the display despite the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, though Noem never did shut down her state’s operations or order businesses to close.
The NPS letter also said a fireworks event “poses threats to the environment and Memorial resources,” going on to cite increased levels of perchlorate — a chemical compound that is used as an oxidizer in fireworks — in the area after the 2020 display.
Regarding the danger of a wildfire, NPS said “current drought conditions and the 2022 wildfire outlook” make it impossible to host an event using fireworks because it “would cause a high likelihood of a wildfire ignition.”
The Blaze adds:
This is the second time the Biden administration has shut down South Dakota’s attempt to celebrate Independence Day at Mount Rushmore. The last fireworks celebration at the national landmark was held in 2020, with President Donald Trump in attendance. It was the first time such an event had been held since 2009, when the fireworks were canceled over wildfire concerns.
At the time, Democrats accused Trump of “holding a rally glorifying white supremacy at Mount Rushmore — a region once sacred to tribal communities.” Some Sioux leaders are opposed to the monument and have called for the sculptures of Presidents George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Theodore Roosevelt, and Abraham Lincoln to be removed from the landscape.
After the Biden administration rejected South Dakota’s request last year, the state filed suit in federal court seeking a reversal of the National Park Service’s rejection. That case is ongoing and is currently before the U.S. Eight Circuit Court.
In a statement, following the latest rejection, Noem blasted the NPS while going on to accuse President Joe Biden of being a hypocrite.
“Mount Rushmore is the best place in America to celebrate our nation’s birthday – I just wish President Biden could see that,” Noem said.
“Last year, the President hypocritically held a fireworks celebration in Washington, D.C., while denying us our own event. This year, it looks like they are planning to do the same,” she noted further.
“NPS announced this denial less than 24 hours after we reminded the court that this year’s permit application was still pending,” she added.
“Many of the reasons presented for their denial have been previously addressed, indicating that these reasons are not in good faith. We will move forward with our litigation and urge the court to help us come to a speedy resolution.”
Please follow Blitz on Google News channel