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The National Park Service (NPS) has denied a request from the state of South Dakota to hold a fireworks display at Mount Rushmore to celebrate the Fourth of July this year. 

NPS Regional Director Herbert Frost wrote in a letter to the head of the state’s tourism department that NPS is “unable to grant a request to have fireworks at the Memorial.”

“Potential risks to the park itself and to the health and safety of employees and visitors associated with the fireworks demonstration continue to be a concern and are still being evaluated as a result of the 2020 event,” Frost wrote. “In addition, the park’s many tribal partners expressly oppose fireworks at the Memorial.

“These factors, compiled with the COVID-19 pandemic, do not allow a safe and responsible fireworks display to be held at this site,” he added. 

Last time around: Last year fireworks returned to Mount Rushmore for an Independence Day celebration for the first time since 2009. They had previously been canceled due to wildfire risks. 

At the time of last year’s event, former President TrumpDonald TrumpThe Memo: Nation rallies for Biden on his COVID-19 response Maryland GOP governor applauds Biden after prime-time COVID-19 address Biden denounces hate, violence against Asian Americans: ‘It must stop’ MORE gave a speech and social distancing and mask wearing were not enforced. 

And the news got some backlash: Ian Fury, a spokesperson for South Dakota Gov. Kristi NoemKristi Lynn NoemMichigan bill would bar transgender high schoolers from teams that align with their gender Bill barring transgender athletes from women’s sports heads to South Dakota governor’s desk Republican National Committee to hold part of donor retreat at Mar-a-Lago MORE (R), told The Hill in an email that the governor “is going to do everything in her ability to ensure that we can celebrate America’s birthday with fireworks at Mount Rushmore.”

Fury pointed to President BidenJoe BidenThe Memo: Nation rallies for Biden on his COVID-19 response Democrats debate fast-track for infrastructure package Japanese prime minister expected to be Biden’s first foreign visit at White House MORE‘s remarks on Thursday in which the president said that by July 4, there is a “good chance” people can gather with family and friends. 

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

Read more about the decision here.


RESULTS OF THE PROBE: Park Service says ranger who stunned Indigenous man acted ‘consistent with agency policy’

The National Park Service (NPS) has determined that a park ranger who was seen in a now-viral video shocking a Native American man with a stun gun acted in a manner “consistent with agency policy and appropriate given the totality of the circumstances.”

The agency’s side of the story: A Friday statement from NPS said that an internal affairs investigation found that before the officer used the stun gun, he tried to resolve the situation with a warning and made “repeated attempts to deescalate the interaction.”

The agency said that the ranger made contact after spotting two people off the trail on rocks containing petroglyphs, or rock carvings, at Petroglyph National Monument in New Mexico.

Multiple outlets have identified the man who was shocked with the stun gun as Darrell House. House posted a video of the incident on Instagram. 

What he said then: “This could have been a civil interaction. The law doesn’t work for the Indigenous. The government doesn’t give a shit about us. This was uncalled for. You see I’m clearly on the trail. I explained my reason for being off trail (which I shouldn’t have too.) If anyone has the right to be off trail and wonder this land, it’s the NATIVE INDIGENOUS COMMUNITY!” House said in his post from December. 

And when asked for his reaction? House posted on his Instagram story that his reaction is the middle finger emoji. 

Read more about what NPS determined here.


ALMOST ACROSS THE FINISH: A vote to confirm Deb HaalandDeb HaalandOVERNIGHT ENERGY: Graham, Sullivan signal possible support for Haaland confirmation | Agency says Biden leasing pause won’t impact 2021 energy production | Senate panel unanimously advances Biden pick for deputy Energy chief Biden federal leasing pause won’t impact energy production this year, agency says Graham, 3 other GOP senators signal possible support for Haaland confirmation MORE as the Interior Secretary is slated for Monday afternoon. She’s expected to be confirmed, with limited GOP support. 




  • The Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee will hold a hearing on research for transportation technology, including to reduce emissions


  • The Senate Environment and Public Works Committee will hold a hearing on challenges facing drinking water and waste water infrastructure projects
  • The House Science, Space and Technology Committee will hold a hearing titled “Brain Drain: Rebuilding the Federal Scientific Workforce”
  • The House Appropriations Committee will hold a hearing on climate change, national security and the Arctic
  • The House Appropriations Committee will also hold a hearing titled “Domestic manufacturing for a clean energy future”
  • The House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee will hold a hearing titled “The Business Case for Climate Solutions”


  • The House Science, Space and Technology Committee will hold a hearing on research needs for a secure and resilient grid
  • The House Energy and Commerce Committee will hold a hearing on the CLEAN Future Act
  • The House Natural Resources Committee will hold a hearing called “Restoring Abandoned Mine Lands, Local Economies, and the Environment”
  • The House Appropriations Committee will hold a hearing on addressing ocean plastic pollution through recycling
  • The Senate Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs Committee will hold a hearing on protecting the financial system from climate risks



  • Bloomberg Law: Biden EPA ponders ‘Hail Mary’ move on greenhouse gas air limits
  • Politico: Kerry to Wall Street: Put your money behind your climate PR
  • E&E News: A ‘poster child’ for policy failure: Will EPA ban asbestos?
  • The Associated Press: Auto industry urges emissions deal weaker than Obama’s



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