Gov. Noem slams Biden admin's 'political' move to deny Mount Rushmore fireworks permit

During a Thursday interview with “Fox & Friends” Enterprise Reporter Lawrence Jones at Keystone, S.D.-based diner “Peggy’s Place,” Noem said that she has sued the administration for not following procedures outlined in the Administrative Procedure Act, which she claims obligates the federal government to provide sufficient reasoning for not issuing such permits.

“There was no reason to deny us this permit unless it was for political reasons,” said Noem.

KRISTI NOEM SLAMS BIDEN ADMIN’S MOUNT RUSHMORE FIREWORKS BAN, SAYS DECISION IS POLITICAL PAYBACK

The Administrative Procedure Act (APA) governs the process by which federal agencies develop and issue regulations. It includes requirements for publishing notices of proposed and final rulemaking in the Federal Register, and provides opportunities for the public to comment on notices of proposed rulemaking.

According to Noem, the state of South Dakota has met federal, state, and local standards, including fire danger protocols, environmental concerns, and consultations with indigenous tribes, among a plethora of other protocols necessary to host the July 4th event. 

She asserted that South Dakota had been hosting Mount Rushmore Independent Day celebrations for years before the tradition was halted by the Obama administration due to “environmental concerns.”

Noem said that she had asked former President Donald Trump to help her bring the tradition back to the state and Trump agreed to help. 

After two years of planning, Noem recalled the 2020 Mount Rushmore fireworks celebration as a “fantastic” and a rare moment of unity for a country experiencing the COVID-19 pandemic and a summer filled with riots and unrest. 

Patrons of the restaurant expressed their own grievances with the Biden administration prior to the governor’s arrival. 

One couple from Georgia equated the fireworks ban to cancel culture and said that they had traveled to support the people of South Dakota, the monuments, and the “men who fought and died for them.” 

“It’s more than disappointing,” said another patron of the diner. 

The White House said it would host an Independence Day event with essential workers and military service members to celebrate progress in the nationwide vaccination campaign and recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic. 

“We welcome you to join us by hosting your own events to honor our freedom, salute those who have been serving on the frontlines, and celebrate our progress in fighting this pandemic,” the White House said in an email.

Fox News’ David Aaro contributed to this report.