A group of over 65 individuals representing environmental, civic, and social justice organizations are extremely concerned about Joint Base Cape Cod’s proposal to build an eight-lane machine gun range on Upper Cape pine barrens and grasslands, home to at least 39 rare and endangered species, and unique marine, coastal, forest and rangeland ecosystems. This proposal endangers our sole source aquifer and fragile ecosystems and has been wholly without full and fair public participation over years of decision-making.
Under the plan, more than 170 acres will be clear-cut and converted to grassland; and 5,197 acres (one-third of the aquifer water discharge area) will be designated as a firing range Surface Danger Zone located directly over our 15,000-acre Upper Cape Water Supply Reserve, supplying fresh drinking water to at least six Upper- and Mid-Cape towns: Falmouth, Bourne, Sandwich, Mashpee, Barnstable and Yarmouth.
In 1984 the upper 15,000 acres of JBCC was designated as a sole source aquifer under the US Safe Drinking Water Act. And, in 2002 the upper 15,000 acres was designated as the Upper Cape Water Supply Reserve, set aside as protected land under the MA Acts of 2002 (Chap 47) (see: https://malegislature.gov/Laws/SessionLaws/Acts/2002/Chapter47). This designation resulted from pollution at the base over decades, and cleanup so far has cost taxpayers at least $1.4 billion. Oversight for this 15,000-acre site, leased by the Massachusetts Air National Guard from the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, and under Chapter 47 of the Acts of 2002, was turned over to civilian authority and the land was designated as a district of critical environmental concern.
Even superficial scrutiny of Chapter 47 of the MA Acts of 2002 shows that this plan violates promises to protect our drinking water and wildlife habitats as required under Chapter 47. We ask the public to help us stop this ill-conceived project that will have serious detrimental effects on all of Cape Cod and cost taxpayers $11.5 million.