A rally will be held to protest efforts by the Army National Guard to install a Multi-Purpose Machine Gun Firing Range on Joint Base Cape Cod.

The “Respect Us. Respect Our Water.” rally will be held on Saturday, June 26, from 10 AM to noon, at the Forestdale Elementary School, Route 130, in Sandwich. Organizers also announced a rain date of Sunday, June 27, same time, same place.

The rally is being held to show opposition to the National Guard’s plan to build a machine gun firing range atop the 15,000-acre Upper Cape Water Supply Reserve, located on the base.

The gun range project would consist of eight different firing lanes that are 800 meters long. Up to 170.5 acres of tree clearance and 199 acres of land disturbance will be needed for the range. Approximately 5,197 acres will be required to accommodate the Surface Danger Zones, the area where projectiles could fall.

The project is projected to cost $11.5 million.

Chapter 47 of the Massachusetts Acts of 2002 requires that any military uses on the upper 15,000 acres of the base must also protect the Upper Cape Water Supply Reserve. The reserve is a sole-source aquifer providing fresh drinking water to Bourne, Falmouth, Mashpee, Sandwich, Barnstable and Yarmouth.

Chapter 47 also prohibits activities that would threaten wildlife and protected habitats such as pine barrens and grasslands that are unique ecosystems on the Upper Cape.

Recently, the National Guard Bureau released a Finding of No Significant Impact report on the proposed range. The report concluded that the range would not have a significant impact on the quality of the human or natural environment. Groups opposed to the gun range have taken issue with the findings in the report, which was prepared by the Guard.

The rally is being sponsored by 350 different organizations including the Association for the Preservation of Cape Cod, the Cape Cod Climate Change Collaborative, the Faith Communities Environmental Network, the Coalition for Social Justice, the Sierra Club of Cape Cod, the Youth Climate Action Network, Sustainable Practices, Lower Cape Indivisible, Cape Cod Women4Change, the Sandwich Democratic Town Committee and the League of Women Voters Cape Cod Area.

Organizers urge people attending the rally to bring signs and “wear BLUE to signify the threat to our water and climate.”

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