South Dakota governor sends letter to President Biden advocating for fireworks at Mount Rushmore

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Mount Rushmore, Mount rushmore

FILE – This March 22, 2019 file photo shows Mount Rushmore in Keystone, S.D. A Nebraska woman has been fined $1,000 for climbing the memorial. Authorities say Alexandria Incontro scaled the massive granite sculpture Friday, July 12, 2019 with bare feet and no rope, making it to about 15 feet (4.5 meters) from the top. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski, File)

PIERRE, S.D. (KELO) — In a Tuesday news release, the South Dakota Governor’s Office announced that Kristi Noem has sent a letter to President Joe Biden asking him to uphold the Memorandum of Agreement between NPS and the State of South Dakota regarding the Mount Rushmore Fireworks Celebration.

“This year, as we mark our independence from [COVID-19], Mount Rushmore would be the perfect place for a national celebration and fireworks show,” wrote Governor Noem.

In March, the National Park Service rejected South Dakota’s request for July 4 fireworks at Mount Rushmore, according to a report from The Hill, saying that the potential risks to the park were still being evaluated from 2020 and that tribal partners oppose fireworks at Mount Rushmore were reasons, along with COVID-19 for rejecting the state’s request.

Fireworks at Mount Rushmore had been rejected in years prior to 2020 because of fire and environmental concerns.

In her letter, Noem cites Biden’s statement in March where he set July 4 as a goal for when families and small groups could begin gathering together to celebrate. Noem says the cancellation letter from the NPS contradicts his statements.

In the speech, Biden said that if the country met vaccination goals, there would be a “good chance” that families and friends will be able to gather for backyard barbeques. In that same speech, he also said he did not expect large events to be able to go ahead.

While several people who once oversaw fire danger at the National Memorial had said setting off fireworks over the forest was a bad idea that could lead to a large wildfire, Noem pushed to resume fireworks soon after she was elected, enlisting the help of former President Trump, who said in 2020, “What can burn? It’s stone.”

CLICK HERE to read Noem’s full letter to Biden.

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