Started 1 petition
Protect Cape Cod's water & climate from the National Guard's massive, polluting gun range.
The Massachusetts Army National Guard (MAARNG) wants to build a massive machine gun range on a 15,000 acre protected conservation area at Camp Edwards, Joint Base Cape Cod. The $11.5 million, tax-payer funded gun range has been in the pipeline since 2015, but the public was not notified until August 2020 when a tiny announcement appeared in the Cape Cod Times. The 7,500-acre gun range will be the site of routine firing of automatic pistols, machine guns, grenade launchers, and other projectiles, and will include a 5,000-acre known "surface danger zone" where an incalculable number of spent ammo will land. But that's not what has Cape Codders outraged. If built, the project will: Be sited on the Upper Cape Water Supply Reserve at JBCC, the largest piece of protected, undeveloped land on Cape Cod, putting our fragile ecosystem, sole source aquifer and very limited water supply at risk. Clear-cut 170 acres of mature trees releasing 17K metric tons of carbon into the air and decimating their future carbon storage value (300 metric tons)—a critical tool to fight climate change--and obliterate the trees' natural water and soil filtration services. Displace or destroy forest and animal species, at least 37 of which are state-listed as vulnerable. Impact the health and wellbeing of nearby residents. Noise from the gun range would reach homes (as late as 2 a.m.), businesses, an elementary school, a cemetery and the county prison. The elderly and children will be affected most. Devalue property in the surrounding area as gun-ranges are widely cited as among the top ten adverse uses--along with toxic waste sites, strip clubs, and substandard schools--contributing to decline in residential property values. This is not a NIMBY issue. After decades of pollution due to training activities at Joint Base Cape Cod (now costing taxpayers $1.1 billion and still unresolved), the state designated 15,000 acres on the Base as the “Upper Cape Water Supply Reserve" managed by the Environmental Management Commission to serve three purposes: 1) Protection of water supply and wildlife habitat 2) The development and construction of public water supply systems 3) For the use and training of the military forces of the commonwealth; provided that, such military use and training is compatible with the natural resource purposes of water supply and wildlife habitat protection. Building an 8-lane machine range where automatic weapons, grenades and other explosives will be fired is completely incompatible with these purposes. In its Environmental Assessment (EA), the Army National Guard (ANG) found “no significant impacts” to the environment and “no significant controversy” from the proposed firing range. But Cape Codders know better--and call B.S.!! The report was completed with insufficient study, lack of transparency and minimal public input. The only stated purpose for the range is to save Mass National Guard troops the inconvenience of traveling to Vermont for their machine gun training. Other alternatives were not adequately considered. Usage of the range from troops outside of our region would increase Base activities by 18%, adding further stress on the environment, traffic, and first responders. Legislators and Influencers: Please listen to your constituents and urge the state's Environmental Management Commission, which is legally obligated to protect this conservation area, to veto the project. A machine gun range is wrong for Cape Cod, wrong for the climate, and wrong for this protected environmental area.