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Warren blocks funding extension for proposed machine gun range

The M2A1 .50 caliber machine gun, informally known as “Ma Deuce” has an effective range of 2,000 yards and a maximum effective range of 2,200 yards when fired from a tripod.
Elodie Reed / Vermont Public
The M2A1 .50 caliber machine gun, informally known as “Ma Deuce,” has an effective range of 2,000 yards and a maximum effective range of 2,200 yards when fired from a tripod. The Massachusetts Army Guard wants to build a range to train on the weapon at Joint Base Cape Cod.

Senator Elizabeth Warren says she “guarantees” the Environmental Protection Agency will be able to finish its efforts to study the impacts of a controversial machine gun range, proposed by the Massachusetts Army National Guard for Joint Base Cape Cod, before any money is allotted for its construction.

In an exclusive interview with CAI, Warren described urging her colleagues on the Senate Armed Services Committee not to extend funding for the project while marking up the 2025 National Defense Authorization Act.

The committee marks up the funding bill behind closed doors. Her interview with CAI provides the first news of the outcome of that process.

The funding bill initially included a provision that would have granted a one year extension on a nearly $10 million authorization to build the range.

Find out more: read all of our coverage on the proposed machine gun range

“I said to the other senators when we were working on the bill that, with this negative preliminary report, I didn't want to spend taxpayer dollars to start moving forward on something that might never be a reality,” Warren said. “I want to wait until the EPA [Environmental Protection Agency] finishes its work and issues a final report.”

In a draft report released April 2023, the EPA found that the range could contaminate the aquifer that provides Cape Cod with drinking water, creating a "significant public health hazard." It’s a finding the Massachusetts Army National Guard has challenged several times, and internal emails revealed that the Guard has more recently been trying to cut the EPA out of the review process altogether.

The Guard did not immediately return a request for comment.

Late last month, the House Armed Services Committee also struck similar language for a funding extension out of its own version of the defense funding bill. Now, with the Senate and House on the same page, the funds will likely expire in three months.

There will be no funding going forward until the EPA issues a final report,” Warren said. “I guarantee that the EPA will have the chance to finish its work.”

Eve Zuckoff covers the environment and human impacts of climate change for CAI.