The National Park Service will not allow South Dakota to reprise its thunderous Independence Day fireworks show at Mount Rushmore in a response that is being attacked as pure Biden-era politics.
The park service is “unable to grant a request to have fireworks at the Memorial,” Regional Director Herbert Frost wrote to South Dakota’s tourism department, according to The Hill.
“Potential risks to the park itself and to the health and safety of employees and visitors associated with the fireworks demonstration continue to be a concern and are still being evaluated as a result of the 2020 event,” Frost wrote.
Fireworks at the landmark had been stopped since 2009 due to wildfire risks before last year’s extravaganza, which included an appearance by former President Donald Trump.
Fireworks light up the sky above Mount Rushmore National Monument on July 03, 2020 near Keystone, South Dakota. President Donald Trump spoke before the start of the fireworks display, the … https://t.co/2tS8oKCSMS
— Conservative News Daily (@ConservNewsDly) March 13, 2021
Rep. Dusty Johnson, the state’s only member of the House, and Republican Sens. John Thune and Mike Rounds called the decision politics as usual under Biden.
You’ve got to be kidding. Can’t the Democrats just pretend to be patriotic?https://t.co/viUMJ2CwHJ
— Kyle Becker (@kylenabecker) March 14, 2021
“Let’s be clear, this decision is political, not evidence-based,” they said in a statement, according to KELO-AM.
“President Biden just said himself that Americans can safely gather by July 4 — what’s changed in a day? Last year millions watched the celebration in awe, and it’s a shame the administration is denying Americans that opportunity this year.”
Frost, however, said that the wishes of Native Americans should come first.
“In addition, the park’s many tribal partners expressly oppose fireworks at the Memorial,” he wrote.
Frost also indicated that in spite of recent comments from President Joe Biden that some sort of return to normal should be possible by July Fourth, “[t]hese factors, compiled with the COVID-19 pandemic, do not allow a safe and responsible fireworks display to be held at this site.”
Frost claimed that it was “only prudent to make plans based on the best available science and public health guidance available today.”
South Dakota’s response was not one of giving in to federal whims.
Ian Fury, a spokesman for Republican South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem, said Noem “is going to do everything in her ability to ensure that we can celebrate America’s birthday with fireworks at Mount Rushmore.”
The best place to celebrate America’s birthday is Mount Rushmore. pic.twitter.com/LZFsglDQmJ
— Governor Kristi Noem (@govkristinoem) March 12, 2021
Noting Biden’s own words about returning to normal, Fury said that “The best place in America to hold such a special celebration would be Mount Rushmore, fireworks included.”
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