Noem administration hasn’t yet sought any proposals from vendors for July 4 fireworks

Capitol News Bureau

PIERRE, S.D. (KELO) — Last year, the state Department of Tourism issued a request for proposals in mid-February for the July 3, 2020, fireworks show at Mount Rushmore National Memorial attended by then-President Donald Trump.

One year later, as Governor Kristi Noem awaits a federal judge’s decision on whether President Joe Biden’s U.S. Department of Interior must give state government another fireworks permit for July 4, state Department of Tourism officials haven’t gone back out seeking another round of proposals.

“We do not have a contract in place on this time. Given the pending litigation, I’m not able to comment any further,” the Republican governor’s communications director, Ian Fury, confirmed in an email Wednesday to KELOLAND News.

His answer was in response to a KELOLAND News question sent earlier Wednesday to state Tourism Secretary Jim Hagen and others in the South Dakota Department of Tourism: “Last year your office issued a fireworks RFP in February. Given the governor’s lawsuit v. Biden administration, has your office issued a fireworks RFP yet this year?”

U.S. District Judge Roberto Lange has set a target of June 2 for a decision in the current lawsuit. Noem is seeking an order that the federal department reverse itself and issue a permit to state government for a July 4 show.

The 2020 fireworks display was the first at Mount Rushmore since 2009. The National Park Service that manages the monument began working on it in 2019.

The park service received an outside analysis that November, issued a follow-up with additional safety considerations one month later, and provided a written advisory to Tourism officials how to submit an application. The state department then issued an RFP for vendors on February 14, 2020, with a March 13, 2020, deadline.

Hagen signed a contract for $350,000 on June 4, 2020, with Pyro Spectaculars of Rialto, California. State government also paid $470,000 to the National Park Service for the permit to hold the show.

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