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Gov. Noem Statement on State Attorneys General Amicus Brief in Rushmore Fireworks Appeal





September 1, 2021

PIERRE, S.D. – Today, sixteen state attorneys general filed an amicus brief in the Kristi Noem, et. al. v. Deb Haaland appeal, which seeks to restore South Dakota’s annual Mount Rushmore Fireworks Celebration. Governor Noem thanked the attorneys general with the following statement:

 

“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,” said Governor Noem. “I am grateful for the sixteen 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 Amici States support Governor Noem’s challenge to the federal government’s unlawful decision denying South Dakota’s permit for the Mount Rushmore Fireworks Celebration. They argue that National Park Service’s decision-making was erratic, flimsy, and based on unsupported rationales. The denial itself was devoid of specifics, facts, data, and was internally inconsistent. The Amici States file this brief to defend a federal permitting process that is well-reasoned, consistent, and well-supported.

 

In particular, the Amici States criticize National Park Service’s contradictory rationale for using the COVID-19 pandemic as a purported reason to cancel the Fireworks Celebration. “Much of the letter refusing to grant South Dakota’s permit was focused on the COVID-19 pandemic,” write the attorneys general. “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.” 

 

The attorneys general are led by Kansas Attorney General Derek Schmidt, who is joined by 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.