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Why Is Biden’s Administration Fighting Fourth of July at Mount Rushmore?

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(National Park Service/Handout via Reuters) It’s the perfect place to mark our independence. That’s why South Dakota is pressing to restore our holiday celebration there.

There is no better place than Mount Rushmore to celebrate America’s birthday. Independence Day is the celebration of our nation and our founding principles of freedom, equality, and opportunity. Thomas Jefferson wrote the beautiful document that declared the United States of America free and independent. George Washington’s leadership in the American Revolution ensured that our independence was established and protected.

Unfortunately, the Biden administration does not share South Dakota’s desire to celebrate America’s birthday at our Shrine of Democracy. It has arbitrarily and unlawfully denied our permit to hold the event this year, violating a memorandum of agreement that the state of South Dakota had with the Department of Interior.

The Biden administration argues that the COVID pandemic should preclude a fireworks celebration. But South Dakota’s COVID cases are the lowest they’ve been in 14 months. There were zero cases tied to last year’s fireworks event. And more than half of all South Dakota adults have been fully vaccinated.

The administration also argues that there were environmental concerns with holding the event. But all of their concerns were addressed prior to last year’s fireworks celebration. We worked with the National Park Service to conduct a study that found “no significant impact” on the environment from the event. We had fire response resources pre-staged before the event, and no fire occurred. And we had a go/no-go checklist in place that would have canceled the event if there had been severe fire concerns on the day of the celebration.

The administration points out that certain Native American tribes were opposed to the event. But we consulted with them before last year’s celebration. We included programming to celebrate Native heritage at the event. If the administration actually believes this reason for canceling, then it would have to shut down the memorial altogether. I hesitate to write that, though. I don’t want to give the Biden bureaucrats any more bad ideas.

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