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Federal judge declines to order fireworks at Mount Rushmore

Mount Rushmore Fireworks
Posted at 11:14 AM, Jun 03, 2021

SIOUX FALLS, S.D. — A federal judge has rebuffed South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem’s efforts to force the National Park Service to grant the state permission to shoot fireworks from Mount Rushmore National Memorial to celebrate Independence Day this year.

Noem sued the U.S. Department of Interior in an effort to reverse the decision to deny the state’s permit for the pyrotechnic display.

The Republican governor successfully pushed last year for a return of the event after a decade-long hiatus. The event was held July 3, 2020, and was the first time fireworks were used at the site since 2008.

It was also held in the middle of the coronavirus pandemic, with no requirement to wear masks or social distance.

Then-President Donald Trump spoke at the event last year, along with other politicians and celebrities.

But the National Park Service denied it this year, citing safety concerns and objections from local Native American tribes.

In turning down Gov. Noem's appeal, the federal judge determined the NPS's denial of a permit was not "arbitrary and capricious."