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13 Mar, 2021 03:01

Party’s over: South Dakota’s request for July 4th fireworks on Mount Rushmore DENIED over health & environment concerns

Party’s over: South Dakota’s request for July 4th fireworks on Mount Rushmore DENIED over health & environment concerns

A repeat of last year’s large-scale celebration at Mount Rushmore, headlined by then-President Donald Trump, is apparently not going to happen this year, after a federal agency refused a request for a fireworks display.

National Park Service (NPS) Regional Director Herbert Frost said in a letter seen by the Hill that the agency was “unable to grant a request” to stage fireworks at the memorial due to “potential risks to the park itself and to the health and safety of employees and visitors.”

Frost also cited opposition by “many tribal partners” of the park to the sight of fireworks, and noted that while the situation with the Covid-19 pandemic is still “dynamic,” it was still impossible to greenlight the request.

Last year, South Dakota hosted a grandiose Independence Day celebration/political rally, attended by high-profile Republicans and headlined by former President Donald Trump, who gave a speech in front of thousands of supporters. Ahead of the event, 7,500 tickets were issued for the fireworks.

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The event drew intense criticism from Democrats and mainstream media, who panned the organizers for making mask-wearing optional and not enforcing social distancing rules. In the run-up to the celebration, the Democratic Party went as far as to suggest that Trump’s rally at Mount Rushmore would honor “white supremacy,” only to delete the tweet afterwards. 

The mainstream media also had a field day attacking Trump. CNN characterized the site as “a monument of two slave owners” despite earlier describing the colossal sculpture, built on land sacred to the Lakota tribe, “quite a sight” and “a monument to four great presidents” when Senator Bernie Sanders and former President Barack Obama visited it.

A spokesperson for South Dakota Governor and Trump ally Kristi Noem told the Hill that the state still hopes to host the event, citing Biden’s first presidential address on Thursday in which he promised Americans will be able to celebrate Independence Day.

Also on rt.com Trump mocks NYT for ‘fake news’ claim he wants his face on Mt. Rushmore, but says it ‘sounds like a good idea’

“The best place in America to hold such a special celebration would be Mount Rushmore, fireworks included,” spokesman Ian Fury said.

While Biden said he hopes families can have get-togethers on July 4th, he suggested that any gatherings should be small and take place in people’s backyards or own neighborhoods, ruling out any large-scale celebrations.

Mount Rushmore hosted 11 fireworks displays from 1998 to 2011, and again last year. Events in 2002, 2010, and 2011 were canceled due to the risk of wildfires, two dozen of which were sparked by fireworks before the shows were placed on prolonged hiatus, according to Wildfire Today.

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