Mashpee Selectmen Raise Concerns Over Machine Gun Range

MASHPEE – Mashpee Select Board members recently aired their frustrations with the communication from the Massachusetts National Guard on the machine gun range proposed for Joint Base Cape Cod.

Board member and Association to Preserve Cape Cod Executive Director Andrew Gottlieb said that he believes the project does not meet statutory requirements for training on the Upper Cape Water Supply Preserve.

“The case I would make, and the case a lot of other folks have made so far, has been that as conceived the project doesn’t do enough job to protect our water supply,” said Gottlieb. 

Gottlieb and other selectmen said that part of their concern comes from previous issues of water contamination on the base, which so far has incurred about $1.2 billion in clean-up costs.

“This is not taking a position opposed to a machine gun range. Just opposed to this range as it’s designed in this particular location. It’s not about not being supportive of the training for the troops, but whether or not it can be done as proposed without sacrificing environmental quality as was done in the past,” said Gottlieb. 

Last week, the proposed machine gun range continued to receive a cool reception from about 200 residents during a National Guard public town hall meeting that outlined the $11.5 million project. 

The machine gun range project is moving through the regulatory process and will be presented for vote to the state Environmental Management Commission (EMC) the week of July 12. 

Selectmen considered presenting the issue to state representatives, though the EMC has the final say on the project’s go-ahead. 

“I think there’s just a much better place other than Cape Cod to do it,”  said Vice-Chair David Weeden.

“Destroying 170 acres of trees when you have huge, expansive areas cleared already and rather than utilize those areas you’re going to impact 170 acres of trees. It’s Cape Cod, there’s a lot of priority habitats over there.”

The board unanimously voted to draft a letter of concern saying that the town cannot support the current proposal for the range as-is without further information from the National Guard.

About Grady Culhane

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