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Sixteen states join Gov. Noem in Mount Rushmore fireworks fight
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Sixteen states join Gov. Noem in Mount Rushmore fireworks fight

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Fireworks over Mount Rushmore (copy)

The 2020 fireworks display at Mount Rushmore.

Sixteen states attorneys general filed a brief in the lawsuit in which Gov. Kristi Noem is seeking to appeal the decision to prohibit South Dakota's annual Mount Rushmore fireworks celebration, according to a news release.

In March, the National Parks Service denied the state's application due to safety concerns and objections from local Native American tribes.

Noem has appealed the decision in court.

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“The Biden Administration’s arbitrary decision to cancel the Mount Rushmore Fireworks Celebration sets a bad precedent for other states who want honest and predictable federal processes,” Noem stated in the release. “I am grateful for the 16 attorneys general who are standing up with South Dakota so that we can return the Fireworks Celebration to Mount Rushmore and honor our nation’s birthday at America’s Shrine to Democracy for next year and in the future.”

The brief is signed by Kansas Attorney General Derek Schmidt, Alabama Attorney General Steve Marshall, Arizona Attorney General Mark Brnovich, Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge, Indiana Attorney General Todd Rokita, Louisiana Attorney General Jeff Landry, Mississippi Attorney General Lynn Fitch, Missouri Attorney General Eric Schmitt, Montana Attorney General Austin Knudsen, Nebraska Attorney General Doug Peterson, Ohio Attorney General Dave Yost, Oklahoma Attorney General John O’Connor, South Carolina Attorney General Alan Wilson, Tennessee Attorney General Herbert Slatery III, Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton and West Virginia Attorney General Patrick Morrisey.

The brief argues that the National Park Service's decision-making was erratic, flimsy and based on unsupported rationales.

“Much of the letter refusing to grant South Dakota’s permit was focused on the COVID-19 pandemic,” the brief states. “COVID-19 concerns did not prevent the National Park Service from holding a fireworks display on the National Mall in Washington, D.C. It was arbitrary and capricious to rely on the same concerns to refuse to allow a fireworks display at Mount Rushmore.”

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