South Dakota’s Noem applies for 2023 Rushmore fireworks

SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (AP) — South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem on Friday said she has applied for permission to hold a fireworks show at Mount Rushmore to celebrate Independence Day 2023, persisting even though the National Park Service has denied her requests for the past two years.

In 2020, a fireworks display, featuring a fiery speech from former President Donald Trump, was held at the monument after a decadelong hiatus. The Park Service has cited environmental concerns and objections from Native American tribes in denying subsequent permit applications.

A federal judge last year rebuffed the Republican governor’s lawsuit that sought to force the Park Service to allow her to shoot fireworks over the granite monument. Noem has appealed that decision.

“As Americans all across our great country make preparations to celebrate their Independence Day, we have once again been denied the opportunity to celebrate at our nation’s enduring symbol of freedom, Mount Rushmore National Memorial,” the governor said in a statement.

The Department of Interior declined to comment on Noem’s application.

Noem is running for reelection and is widely considered to be a potential Republican contender for the 2024 White House ticket. She often cites 2020’s fireworks celebration, when she shared the stage with Trump, as a highlight of her first term in office.

Her autobiography, which was released earlier this week, crescendos with her speech under the monument. In the book’s final chapter, she writes: “The fireworks that night were something out of this world.”

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