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Federal judge declines to order fireworks at Mount Rushmore

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PIERRE, S.D. (KTIV) - A federal judge has denied South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem’s efforts to force the National Park Service to grant the state permission to shoot fireworks from Mount Rushmore National Memorial to celebrate Independence Day this year. 

Chief Judge Roberto A. Lange issued his opinion and order Wednesday afternoon denying Gov. Kristi Noem's request to reinstate the firework permit required to host the Mount Rushmore Fireworks Celebration.

Back in April, Noem sued the U.S. Department of Interior in an effort to reverse the decision to deny the state’s permit for the pyrotechnic display. 

The Republican governor successfully pushed for the event's return in 2020 after a decade long hiatus. But the National Park Service denied it this year, citing safety concerns and objections from local Native American tribes.

Noem has stated the Biden administration canceled the event on "completely arbitrary grounds" and plans to continue trying to get the event approved.

"My legal team will appeal this incorrect decision so that we can return the Fireworks Celebration to Mount Rushmore and celebrate our nation’s birthday at America’s Shrine to Democracy for next year and in the future,” said Noem in an official statement.

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Dean Welte

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