Communities fed up with incessant noise from shooting range: ‘It sounds like a war zone’

"The amount of noise that comes with it has increased significantly."
Published: Apr. 3, 2023 at 8:35 AM HST|Updated: Apr. 3, 2023 at 11:18 AM HST
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HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - A Marine Corps shooting range in Ewa Beach with a long history in the community is facing increasing pressure to cease operations and relocate, but the military said it’s not going anywhere.

The Marine Corps said it’s been operating Puuloa Range Training Facility in Ewa Beach since the early 1900s.

But on Wednesday, the Ewa Neighborhood Board voted unanimously to approve a resolution telling the Marine Corps they’ve worn out their welcome.

“It sounds like we’re in a war zone,” said Mike Plowman, a longtime Ewa Beach resident and retired Navy pilot.

He’s joining other Ewa residents saying it’s time for the Marines to pack up and go.

“For my entire life, the range was not intrusive. It wasn’t an issue,” Plowman said. “It became an issue when they ramped up the volume of the load speaker and the amount of shooting they’ve done.”

On Friday, the military spoke before state lawmakers, who are considering a similar resolution like the one approved by the Ewa Neighborhood Board.

“Puuloa Range Training Facility is the only place in Hawaii where this training can be accomplished. It’s irreplaceable,” said Lt. Mark McDonough, with the Marine Corps.

McDonough said about 7,000 Marines based in Kaneohe train at the range.

The Marine Corps says it attends the Ewa Neighborhood Board meetings monthly and in a written statement said it is trying to mitigate the potential impacts of the range to the surrounding community.

The statement continued:

“We understand the concerns regarding loud noise associated with our training, and because of that, we have worked with the surrounding community by mitigating noise impacts, to include changing the direction of our loudspeakers which are required to safety conduct live fire training, notifying the community when there are necessary changes to the firing schedule, permanently changed the start time of daily training, and in many other instances. We have been, and remain committed, to continued close cooperation and coordination in order to mitigate impacts as much as possible while maintaining our ability to train Marines to standard at the PRTF.”

But Plowman feels the Marines are trying to minimize community concerns.

“When I served I worked closely with Marines. The finest individuals you can imagine working with. Now I watch their testimony, it’s dishonest,” said Plowman.

“The amount of noise that comes with it has increased significantly. We hear the speakers starting at 5 a.m. and then they start shooting.”

The Marine Corps says it is looking forward to continued cooperation with the Ewa Beach community to address concerns and resolve problems in a reasonable and responsible manner.