EPA Expands Comment Opportunities on Joint Base Gun Range

Potential location for the Joint Base machine gun range. Town of Barnstable

BOURNE – The US Environmental Protection Agency has expanded the ways residents can comment on their draft determination denying federal funding to the proposed machine gun range for Joint Base Cape Cod.

In their initial draft, the agency said the range could pose a public health risk, as there are no drinking water alternatives should the region’s sole source aquifer become contaminated by training activities.

Officials said they anticipate a high turnout for the upcoming public hearing, so they are also allowing comments through other means including by email and by phone. 

Joint Base officials can still submit new data and proposals to the EPA.

The EPA is accepting comments through June 26.

The public hearing will be held at the Sandwich Center for Active Living and remotely at 6:30 pm on Wednesday. 

The full statement, as well as remote access information, can be found below:

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is increasing the ways members of the public and other interested parties may submit comments regarding the draft determination under the Safe Drinking Water Act that a Multi-Purpose Machine Gun Range proposed to be constructed by the Massachusetts Army National Guard may contaminate the Cape Cod Aquifer. There are no reasonably available alternative drinking water sources for Cape Cod residents should the aquifer become contaminated.

EPA is accepting public comment on this proposal for 60 days, through June 26, and is holding a formal Public Hearing on May 24, 2023. Because EPA anticipates high interest in the May 24 Public Hearing, EPA is expanding the options for people to submit comments for the formal public record of this action.

Public Engagement Process

During the remainder of the 60-day public comment period, the public and interested stakeholders may submit written comments for EPA’s consideration.

  • Written comments may be submitted to: [email protected]
  • Verbal comments may be submitted on a voicemail box at (617) 918-1800
  • In person comments can be submitted during the public hearing on May 24th.

The May 24, 2023 public hearing will be held at:

Center for Active Living
70 Quaker Meetinghouse Road
Sandwich, Mass.

The formal public hearing will begin at 7:00 p.m. and will be preceded by an informational public meeting beginning at 6:30 p.m. Individuals with accessibility or translation requests may contact [email protected] for assistance.

The meeting and public hearing will be live streamed via Zoom at https://usepa.zoomgov.com/j/1605125622?pwd=TXkyY29CNG9vR2tvUEkraWNONm82dz09. People may watch and listen to the public meeting and public hearing using this virtual option, however public comments will not be accepted over zoom. Those who wish to comment during the public hearing can attend in person, or use the noted email box or voicemail box to submit comments.

All comments timely received will be reviewed and considered by the Region, along with other available information. If, after evaluating this material, EPA’s Regional Administrator continues to believe that the proposed project may create a significant public health hazard, he will then forward the information to the EPA Administrator with a recommended conclusion that the project may contaminate the aquifer through the recharge zone so as to create a significant hazard to public health. The EPA Administrator will then make a final determination. Should this determination become final, no commitment of federal financial assistance (through a grant, contract, loan guarantee, or otherwise) may be allowed.

More Information:

EPA information on Cape Cod Sole Source Aquifer and EPA documents about the draft determination: https://www3.epa.gov/region1/eco/drinkwater/capecod.html

To join the May 24 public meeting or formal public hearing by Zoom:

Join ZoomGov Meeting : https://usepa.zoomgov.com/j/1605125622?pwd=TXkyY29CNG9vR2tvUEkraWNONm82dz09

Meeting ID: 160 512 5622

Passcode: 29473766

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About Grady Culhane

Grady Culhane is a Cape Cod native from Eastham. He studied media communications at Cape Cod Community College and joined the CapeCod.com News Center in 2019.

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