Perhaps more so than in prior years, this New Year left me with a greater sense of urgency than most. It could be a function of getting older and more aware of the passage of time. That is probably part of it. But another factor is a combined sense of great opportunity and great threat facing the Cape in 2022.
The opportunity before us is to change the trajectory of water quality decline in our ponds and estuaries by taking advantage of a generational opportunity to fund wastewater infrastructure investment. Cape Cod towns can take advantage of zero percent State Revolving Fund loans, 25 percent loan principal forgiveness from the Cape and Islands Water Protection Trust and the infusion of over a billion dollars from the federal infrastructure law that will support water quality investment. Now is the time for Cape towns to accelerate their plans to build the wastewater infrastructure we know we need. To fail to do so now would be a tragic mistake and APCC is dedicated to doing all we can to support, cajole and pressure towns to move forward, aggressively, over the next five years to take advantage of the opportunity to solve one of the region’s biggest problems.
The threats we face are many, but two that jump out and need to be eliminated are the proposed multi-purpose machine gun range on Joint Base Cape Cod that jeopardizes the Upper Cape Water Supply Reserve and the discharge of radioactive cooling water into Cape Cod Bay from the decommissioning of the Pilgrim Nuclear Power Station in Plymouth. Neither the MPMG or the disposal of radioactive water make any environmental, economic, or public health sense. Both jeopardize water resources essential to the future of Cape Cod. Both must be stopped once and for all in 2022. If allowed to proceed, neither project is reversible, and we will live with their results and impacts for the rest of our lives. Knowing that 2022 is the year in which these two far-reaching decisions will be made creates a real sense of urgency that will guide what we at APCC will spend a lot of time on in 2022.
APCC stands ready to play both offense and defense on these issues as well as the others that will most certainly arise as the year progresses. Stay tuned, we plan to be busy and need your interest and support to help make good things happen.