17 states file legal support for Noem’s Mount Rushmore fireworks lawsuit

Noem FireworksTOPEKA — Kansas Attorney General Derek Schmidt led a coalition of 17 states attorney’s general in filing a brief in support of the lawsuit brought by South Dakota Governor Kristi Noem against the Department of Interior.

Noem’s lawsuit asks the court to block the Department of Interior’s rejection of a fireworks permit and order them to issue one.

Schmidt told the U.S. District Court in South Dakota that the Fourth of July fireworks at Mount Rushmore cannot lawfully be blocked by a federal agency’s “erratic decision-making” or arbitrary reversal of its prior support.

“Given the importance of the Fourth of July holiday and the special role of Mount Rushmore as a national monument, States have an interest in seeing the fireworks display take place again this year,” Schmidt and the other attorneys general wrote. “But in rejecting South Dakota’s permit, the Department of the Interior offered only the flimsiest of rationales, unsupported by any evidence or reasoned explanation.”

The Department of Interior denied the permit due to fire concerns and push back from Native American tribes. Gov. Noem says there was already an agreement to hold fireworks and that no reason was given for denying the permit.

The attorneys general say that fireworks displays have been a part of traditional celebrations of independence since 1777 and that Mount Rushmore, with its carvings of U.S. presidents, is a powerful symbol on Independence Day.

The Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe this week also filed a motion to intervene in Noem’s lawsuit, stating that Noem falsely claimed that both the State of South Dakota and the federal government consulted with tribal governments regarding the impact of holding fireworks at Mount Rushmore.

Categories: Local News, National News, South Dakota News