The sound of automatic weapons fire may soon be heard from Joint Base Cape Cod. The base has received approval from Washington to clear 170 acres of forest to build a machine gun range.
The key stamp of approval from the feds comes despite opposition from many local residents and the head of the association to preserve Cape Cod.
“This process has really happened behind the scenes without meaningful public engagement," Andrew Gottlieb said. "Almost 400 people that commented on this project have opposed it and raised meaningful concerns that have been largely ignored by the guard bureau.”
There are concerns about cutting down thousands of trees and what that would mean for the carbon footprint. And, Gottlieb says, there’s the water.
“This site sits on the primary source of drinking water for the four upper Cape towns is contamination of the drinking water and that the activities here are going to be managed in a way that assures long term protection of the drinking water on which we all rely.”
Most of the people NBC10 Boston spoke to Wednesday are against the range.
“I don’t think it’s necessary," Mashpee resident Karen Titus said. "It just doesn’t seem environmentally safe or safe in general.”
“I’m more worried about it environmentally. We need the trees," said Shana Pacheco, who spends a lot of time in the area. "And I’ve been seeing they’ve been taking down a lot of trees lately never mind to do it fir that.”
But some do feel it’s necessary.
“I understand people’s concerns with the environment and the trees but I also know who the national guard is," former resident Kelly Forman said. "I understand but I think it’s obviously a need they have.”
The Massachusetts Environmental Management Commission still has to sign off on the range.
NBC10 Boston reached out to the Massachusetts National Guard but has not heard back. The guard however, did give a statement to the Cape Cod Times saying the project is environmentally safe.