KEYSTONE, S.D. (AP) — Gov. Kristi Noem sent a letter to President Joe Biden Tuesday asking that he intervene and allow a Fourth of July fireworks display at Mount Rushmore.
The National Park Service has denied a permit for the fireworks this year, citing concerns about the spread of COVID-19, tribal opposition and the environment.
Fireworks returned to Mount Rushmore last year for a Fourth of July celebration that included a campaign stop by then-President Donald Trump. It was the first time Mount Rushmore has hosted a fireworks show since 2009.
Wildfire risks had cancelled previous Fourth of July displays.
Noem’s request comes after the national memorial was recently closed for several days because of a large wildfire at its doorstep.
The governor asked Biden to uphold the Memorandum of Agreement between National Park Service and South Dakota.
“We are committed to hosting a Mount Rushmore Fireworks Celebration that is safe and responsible and working closely with the National Parks Service to do so,” Noem wrote. “I respectfully ask that you continue the hopeful message you shared earlier this year and uphold our Agreement to host the event this year.”