Noem Sues Interior Dept Over Mount Rushmore Fireworks

     South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem has sued the Interior Department and National Park Service for saying no to another Independence Day fireworks show over Mount Rushmore.

     The National Park Service cited concerns about wildfire, pollution, coronavirus, and objections from local Native American tribes in denying the request for the show.

   . Noem insists it’s purely political and the lawsuit, filed Friday in U-S District Court for South Dakota, calls it “arbitrary and capricious” as well as a violation of the powers granted to the Park Service in the U-S Constitution.

      The conservative Republican governor pushed hard last year and got a fireworks show for the first time in a decade, calling it a way to highlight South Dakota’s tourism industry.

     She says the documents for the show included a multi-year agreement and since she has contracts and has done all the permits and work needed, there’s no reason other than politics for the Park Service to say no this year. 

       In the 2019 agreement, the Dept of the Interior – parent of the National Park Service – and the state agree to pursue working to return fireworks to Mount Rushmore in a safe and responsible manner starting in 2020. 

        Noem unveiled her lawsuit plans Thursday in an address to the Watertown Rotary Club