I got a coin in my palm
I can make it disappear
I got a card up my sleeve
Name it and I’ll pull it out your ear
I got a rabbit in my hat
If you wanna come and see
This is what will be
This is what will be

I got shackles on my wrists
Soon I’ll slip ’em and be gone (slip ’em and be gone)
Chain me in a box in your river
And I’ll rise singing this song
Trust none of what you hear (trust none of what you hear)
And less of what you see
This is what will be (this is what will be)
This is what will be

“Magic” – Bruce Springsteen, 2007

Why this song about the government saying one thing while doing another? The proposed multipurpose machine gun range is why. In response to a public records request from APCC to the Massachusetts National Guard requesting any studies, analyses, reports, or communications concerning proposed changes to a machine gun range at Ft. Devens, Massachusetts, we received this seemingly honest, and stunning, reply

“There are no studies, reports, and analyses specific to Ft. Devens that meet your request.” (Click here for the full disclosure package.)

As part of our ongoing effort to protect the public resource that is the Upper Cape Water Supply Reserve, APCC has questioned the assertion that no in-state alternatives exist for MPMG training. With the news that just such a facility was being constructed at Devens, we wanted to see on what basis the statement that no in-state facilities existed was based. Apparently, it was based on nothing since that is what the project’s own sponsor told us in response to the records request.

That said, the emails given to us reveal that local leadership at JBCC realized in November of 2020 that there were potential ramifications of the Devens project and sought guidance from Guard leadership in D.C. There is one email response from the D.C. office that raises the possibility that the Environmental Assessment may need to be modified. And then the trail goes cold. That reasonable concern and caution was either ignored, the responses were not shared with us, or the conversation shifted from writing to verbal and there is no public record of the decision to ignore a fact on the ground that directly contradicts one of the publicly stated foundational rationales for the project.

One last thing that perhaps will head off a repeat of what I have already heard from some of you that says (and I am paraphrasing here): “Hey dummy, don’t you know that the Army Reserve and the Guard are separate and don’t cooperate all that well and Devens belongs to the Army Reserve and so the Guard needs its own MPMG?” I do know this, and my response is 1) the taxpayers of America deserve better than to have to pay for duplicative facilities in the same state because the branches of the service may not cooperate as they should, and 2) the EA says that there is no MPMG facility in Massachusetts, not that one exists but that the Army Reserve won’t let us use it so we need our own. That’s a big difference. Ask yourself if that is really a good enough reason to put the water supply of the upper Cape to any risk.

The answer is clear; it’s not. We ask again for Governor Baker to exercise his authority to protect the Cape’s water supply and the integrity of the public process under his watch by putting a stop to this project.