Federal court denies Noem’s Mount Rushmore fireworks appeal

Jul 27, 2022, 10:28 AM | Updated: 3:10 pm
FILE - South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem speaks during the Family Leadership Summit in Des Moines, Iowa...

FILE - South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem speaks during the Family Leadership Summit in Des Moines, Iowa, Friday, July 16, 2021. A federal appeals court, Wednesday, July 27, 2022, dismissed an appeal from Gov. Noem in her lawsuit that attempted to overturn the National Park Service's denial of the state's application to hold a fireworks display at Mount Rushmore to celebrate 2021's Independence Day. (AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall, File)

(AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall, File)

SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (AP) — A federal appeals court on Wednesday dismissed an appeal from South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem in her lawsuit that attempted to overturn the National Park Service’s denial of the state’s application to hold a fireworks display at Mount Rushmore to celebrate 2021’s Independence Day.

The Eighth Circuit of Appeals found that South Dakota’s objections to the Park Service’s decision were moot because it was in the past and the federal government was within its rights to deny the state from shooting off fireworks at the national memorial.

“The bottom line is that we cannot change what happened last year, and South Dakota has not demonstrated that deciding this otherwise moot case will impact any future permitting decision,” Judge David Stras wrote in the court’s opinion. “Any controversy has, in other words, fizzled out.”

The Republican governor, who has positioned herself for a 2021 White House bid, has used the fireworks celebration as a political rallying point. She hosted former President Donald Trump at the 2020 celebration, and the patriotic display, held during the early months of the COVID-19 pandemic, figured largely in her rise to national prominence. It was also the first time fireworks had been held at Mount Rushmore in nearly a decade.

Noem blamed President Joe Biden for the permit denial and insisted that the court erred in its ruling.

“Unfortunately, the Biden Administration ran out the clock, blocking both our celebration and any serious judicial review,” she said in a statement. “The Court should have ruled on the merits to set a standard for future fireworks celebrations.”

South Dakota has paid nearly $230,000 to Consovoy McCarthy, a Virginia-based law firm that has taken up Republican causes across the country, including working for Trump, to represent the state in court.

The court’s decision left open the possibility of the Park Service allowing a pyrotechnic display in the future, and Noem has already applied for a permit for next year. The Park Service denied Noem’s 2022 application for fireworks, citing objections from Native American tribes, wildfire risks and other environmental concerns.

The Park Service declined to comment on the ruling.

The National Parks Conservation Association, an independent organization that had filed an amicus brief in the case to support the Park Service, praised the ruling.

“The adverse effects from previous firework displays are well-documented, including threats to water quality and public health and safety, and to the very resources the park was designated to celebrate and protect,” Christine Goepfert, the association’s Midwest Associate Director, said in a statement.

Noem had also argued that the Park Service’s decision was politically motivated as well as one that should only be made by Congress.

But Stras and the two other judges who issued the opinion disagreed: “Nobody has a right to shoot off fireworks on someone else’s land, whether it be a neighbor; an area business; or as is the case here, a national park.”

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

AP

Lebanese security officers stand at the entrance of a Byblos Bank branch that was broken into by de...
Associated Press

Depositors storm 4 Lebanese banks, demanding their own money

BEIRUT (AP) — Lebanese depositors, including a retired police officer, stormed at least four banks in the cash-strapped country Tuesday after banks ended a weeklong closure and partially reopened. As the tiny Mediterranean nation’s crippling economic crisis continues to worsen, a growing number of Lebanese depositors have opted to break into banks and forcefully withdraw […]
20 hours ago
Aaron Forsberg, minister for economic affairs from the U.S. Embassy, speaks at a conference on bioe...
Associated Press

US vows to supply green-fuel-laggard Japan with bioethanol

TOKYO (AP) — U.S. officials are touting bioethanol in Japan, which trails other nations on using the green fuel made from corn and other crops. The U.S. is a top grower of corn, and an embassy official said the U.S. would be “a reliable supplier” of bioethanol. “American ethanol is a powerful tool for Japan […]
20 hours ago
Associated Press

Seattle woman gets probation for massive Capital One hack

SEATTLE (AP) — A former Seattle tech worker convicted of several charges related to a massive hack of Capital One bank and other companies in 2019 was sentenced Tuesday to time served and five years of probation. U.S. District Judge Robert S. Lasnik said sentencing former Amazon software engineer Paige Thompson to time in prison […]
20 hours ago
Former President Donald Trump listens to applause from the crowd as he steps up to the podium at a ...
Associated Press

Trump asks Supreme Court to intervene in Mar-a-Lago dispute

WASHINGTON (AP) — Lawyers for former President Donald Trump asked the U.S. Supreme Court on Tuesday to step into the legal fight over the classified documents seized during an FBI search of his Florida estate, escalating a dispute over the powers of an independent arbiter appointed to inspect the records. The Trump team asked the […]
20 hours ago
FILE - Kari Lake, Republican candidate for Arizona governor, speaks at the Conservative Political A...
Associated Press

Kari Lake walks back ‘rare and legal’ abortion comment

PHOENIX (AP) — A spokesman for Kari Lake said Tuesday the Republican candidate for Arizona governor didn’t mean to suggest abortion should be legal, saying she’s not calling for changes to abortion laws weeks after a judge ruled that prosecutors can enforce a near-total ban on terminating pregnancies. In her most expansive comments on abortion […]
20 hours ago
Associated Press

Former veteran California FBI agent convicted of bribery

LOS ANGELES (AP) — A former FBI agent in Northern California who handled national security issues was convicted Tuesday of accepting at least $150,000 in gifts and cash bribes to provide confidential information to a man with organized crime ties, prosecutors said. Babak Broumand, 56, of Lafayette, was found guilty in Los Angeles of conspiracy, […]
20 hours ago

Sponsored Articles

...
Children’s Cancer Network

Children’s Cancer Network celebrates cancer-fighting superheroes, raises funds during September’s Childhood Cancer Awareness Month

Jace Hyduchak was like most other kids in his kindergarten class: He loved to play basketball, dress up like his favorite superheroes and jump as high as his pint-sized body would take him on his backyard trampoline.
...
Mayo Clinic Orthopedics and Sports Medicine

Why your student-athlete’s physical should be conducted by a sports medicine specialist

Dr. Anastasi from Mayo Clinic Orthopedics and Sports Medicine in Tempe answers some of the most common questions.
(Courtesy Condor)...
Condor Airlines

Condor Airlines shows passion for destinations from Sky Harbor with new-look aircraft

Condor Airlines brings passion to each flight and connects people to their dream destinations throughout the world.
Federal court denies Noem’s Mount Rushmore fireworks appeal