The governor of South Dakota is suing the US Department of the Interior over an attempt to see fireworks fired over Mount Rushmore on Independence Day.
Republican Kristi Noem successfully pushed for a return to display last year after a 10-year hiatus. The event gained national attention when the then president Donald trump joined Ms. Noem on July 3 to deliver a fiery speech.
But the state’s request to host fireworks this year was rejected by the National Park Service, which cited safety concerns and objections from local Native American tribes.
The lawsuit, filed in the US District Court for South Dakota, argues the decision was “arbitrary and capricious” and violated the agency’s constitutional powers.
The state signed an agreement with the Trump administration and the Home Office last year to work on the return of the display this year.
Mount Rushmore is a huge tourist draw, but it has also been a source of tension between the state and the local Lakota tribes.
Activists have called for the monument to be returned to tribal control, pointing out that the surrounding Black Hills have been taken from tribes in violation of treaties.
Last year’s event sparked concerns over the wildfires set off by the fireworks, as well as protests by Lakota activists.
The fireworks were canceled after 2009 due to the fire danger following a mountain pine beetle infestation.
And last month, the park department had to shut down the monument for several days as firefighters tackled wildfires in the park.