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Hawaii

Defense Secretary Visits Oahu, Families Sickened By Tainted Water Demand Help

Honolulu - Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin will be in Hawaii through the week and plans to meet Rear Admiral John Wade, the commander in charge of defueling the Red Hill underground fuel tanks. So far, there are no scheduled plans to meet with families. Families who were sickened by the spill are demanding immediate help. The protest over Red Hill goes beyond defueling the tanks. Ten months after the spills, families who were sickened after drinking fuel-contaminated water say their physical and neurological illnesses aren’t going away. “Real people are experiencing real symptoms,” said Army Major Amanda Feindt during a protest last week in the nation’s capital. Ariana Wyatt fears for her daughter, Indy. “I would love to tell you sheʻs doing a lot better, but thatʻs just not the truth,” said Wyatt.

Kamala Harris Arrives On Kauai, Greeted By Red Hill Protestors

Kauai, Hawaii - Vice President Kamala Harris and Second Gentleman Doug Emhoff arrived on Kauai for a vacation away from bustle of Washington. As their motorcade pulled up near the Kalihiwai Ridge home where the second couple are staying, they were met with people holding 'Shut Down Red Hill' signs. Some members of the Oahu Water Protectors made the trip to Kauai to meet the motorcade.  While they said 'aloha' to welcome the Vice President on her trip, they also wanted to use the opportunity to put the issue on her radar. "To stand here and know that she's just 100 feet away from us I think it's important because we can't fly to DC but DC is here, so it's an opportunity for us to send a message to DC ," says Healani Sonoda-Pale.

Hawaii Law Could Break Years-Long Astronomy Impasse

The state of Hawaii has set up a new way to manage the mountain Maunakea, the summit of which is home to many world-class astronomical observatories. A law signed by Hawaii’s governor on 7 July removes the University of Hawaii from its role as the main authority overseeing the land on which the telescopes sit, and gives that responsibility to a newly established group with much broader representation of the community, including Native Hawaiians. Many hope that the shift will mark a path forwards for astronomy in Hawaii, after a years-long impasse over the future of telescopes on Maunakea. Since 2015, some Native Hawaiians have intermittently blocked the road to the summit, primarily to prevent the start of construction of the Thirty Meter Telescope (TMT) — a next-generation observatory that will have a huge light-gathering mirror to make astronomical discoveries.

Emptying The Navy’s Red Hill Jet Fuel Tanks Need Not Take Two Years

Ten days ago, late on a Friday afternoon, May 27, 2022, the contractor’s assessment of the repairs needed in the US Navy’s Red Hill Jet Fuel Storage Area was delivered to the Hawai’i Department of Health.  The redacted report made available to the public shed light on how badly managed and maintained the massive 80-year-old, 20 storage tank, 250 million gallon facility located a mere 100 feet above Honolulu’s water supply, had become. In fact, according to the report, the November 2021 jet fuel leak that went into Pearl Harbor’s residential Red Hill drinking water well was just one of many dangerous time bombs in the facility waiting to happen.  The $1.45 million Simpson, Gumpertz & Heger, Inc. contracted report underscores that there were many “near misses”  with potentially even greater disasters than the May and November 2021 leaks/spills from the large jet fuel tank system.

The Hawai’i State Legislature Calls For A Fossil Fuel Non-Proliferation Treaty

Honolulu, Hawai’i – The Hawai’i State Legislature has adopted a resolution calling for the State of Hawai’i and all counties to endorse the Fossil Fuel Non-Proliferation Treaty. Hawai’i was the first US state to make a Climate Emergency Declaration and pass legislation to implement portions of the Paris Climate Agreement. Hawai’i may now become the first state and the first Pacific Island to join the call for the Fossil Fuel Non-Proliferation Treaty. The proposed Fossil Fuel Non-Proliferation Treaty would provide an international mechanism to advance a fast and fair phase out of fossil fuel production in line with both the Paris Agreement and United National Sustainable Development Goals. Fossil fuels are by far the largest contributor to climate change. 

DOD Is Taking Nine Years To Replace Underground Fuel Tanks In WA

It took the Department of Defense (DOD) 3 years to begin work on shutting down the tanks after the decision was made. The decision to close and remove the original 33 underground fuel storage tanks and construct six new above-ground tanks was made in 2018 but work did not begin to close down the facility until July 2021. Each of the six new, above ground tanks will be able to contain 5.2 million gallons of JP-5 carrier jet fuel or F-76 marine diesel fuel in 64-foot-tall, 140-foot-wide tanks constructed of welded steel columns with supported fixed cone roofs. Approximately 75 million gallons are stored at Manchester Fuel Depot now. At that rate, it would take eighteen+ years to defuel and close Red Hill, assuming it holds 180 million gallons of fuel.

Leaking Massive Red Hill Jet Fuel Tanks Will Not Be Closed Anytime Soon

On March 7, 2022 Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin ordered the defueling and closure of the 80-year-old leaking 250 million gallon jet fuel tanks at Red Hill on the island of O’ahu, Hawai’i.  The order came 95 days after a catastrophic 19,000-gallon leak of jet fuel into one of the drinking water wells operated by the U.S. Navy.  The drinking water of over 93,000 persons was contaminated, including the water of many military and civilian families living on military bases.  Hundreds went to emergency rooms for treatment of rashes, headaches, vomiting, diarrhea and seizures.  The military placed thousands of  military families in hotels Waikiki resorts for over 3 months while civilians were left to find their own accommodations. 

$1.1 Billion And Counting For Navy’s Obstinance In Shutting Down Fuel Tanks

Total Congressional funding for all aspects of the Navy’s Red Hill water contamination debacle is now over $1.1 billion according to Hawai’i Congressional representative Ed Case and billions more are needed to complete clean-up, defueling and closing of the massive leaking Red Hill jet fuel storage facility.  In a news release on March 9, 2022, Rep. Case said, “These funds ($700 million)  are in addition to the $403 million in emergency funding we obtained in another bill we passed just weeks ago, bringing Congress’ total funding for all aspects of Red Hill in the current fiscal year alone to over $1.1 billion.  But billions more will be required to complete all aspects of the cleanup, stabilization, defueling and closing of Red Hill and the relocation of its fuel and build fuel storage capacity elsewhere.”

Legislators Declare ‘Over Militarization’ A Threat To Hawai’i’s Security

In a remarkable twist, four members of the Legislature of the State of Hawai’i are finally challenging the U.S. military in Hawai’i.  No doubt using the U.S. Navy’s massive jet fuel leak at Red Hill that contaminated the drinking water for over 100,000 residents of O’ahu as an inflection point of deteriorating military and Hawai’i citizen relationships, on March 23, 2022, four legislators held a hearing titled “Declaring Over Militarization to Be a Threat to the Security of Hawai’i and the International Community.” Having served 29 years in the US Army and Army Reserves and retiring as a Colonel,  also being a U.S. diplomat in the Asia-Pacific, for two years at the US Embassy in the Federated States of Micronesia and at the US Embassy in Mongolia and as a U.S. diplomat...

How Hawaii Activists Helped Force The Military’s Hand On Red Hill

In late November, military families were sickened by fuel ingestion, including babies with rashes, after the tap water source for some 93,000 people in the Pearl Harbor area was contaminated. The military initially denied any problems, then confirmed that recent leaks at the Navy’s underground Red Hill fuel storage facility were to blame and promised to clean up the mess. It suspended operations at the World War II-era tank farm but spent months fighting efforts to close the facility altogether, fending off criticism during public hearings and arguing the state lacked the power to enforce an order to drain the fuel. Then last week, the Department of Defense reversed itself and agreed to shut it all down.

Hawai’i Groups Wary Of Military’s Sudden Decision To Shut Down Red Hill

After stalling for decades in addressing the dangers of the massive Red Hill jet fuel storage facility in Honolulu, in a surprising move on March 7, Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin ordered the leaking 80-year-old jet fuel tanks to be drained of their 180 million gallons of jet fuel and the facility permanently closed. The decision comes after years of protest by the community and endless warnings by the Honolulu Board of Water Supply that the continued leaks in the tank system, which includes twenty 20 story tanks and tens of miles of pipes, was headed for a catastrophic leak that could endanger the water supply of Honolulu which is located only 100 feet below the tanks that were built in World War II.

Tone-Deaf Navy Lawsuit Challenges Hawai’i Shut Down Of Leaking Tanks

Two lawsuits filed on February 2, 2022 by the U.S. Department of Justice on behalf of the Department of Defense and the Department of Navy challenge the State of Hawaii’s emergency order to shut down and defuel the leaking 80-year-old jet fuel tanks.  These lawsuits have created another public relations nightmare for the U.S. Navy and the Department of Defense as residents of O’ahu have expressed their dismay and outrage to the continuing threat of jet fuel to their drinking water aquifer.  In November 2021, the Red Hill tank system leaked jet fuel into the drinking water of 93,000 residents in military housing around Pearl Harbor Navy Base and Hickam Air Force base.

Seven Hawaii Public Schools Still Can’t Use Tap Water

Nearly two months after tests revealed tainted water coming from the faucets at more than a half dozen public schools, health officials say it’s still not safe to use the tap. The schools are all on the Navy’s water lines, which are contaminated with fuel from the Red Hill underground storage facility. There is no timeline for when the taps will be turned back on. To get by, school staff have been hauling bottles of water into classrooms and setting up sanitation stations so students can wash their hands. All the disruption has even the youngest keiki asking questions. “They asked me why did they put the tanks by the water. Didn’t they know it was poison. Who is going to save the water? And how can we save the water,” said kindergarten teacher Malia Rossetti.

Governor’s Claim That He Is Powerless To Stop F-35 Just Got Shown Up

A leak of thousands of gallons of fuel from the US Navy’s aging underground storage tanks at Pearl Harbor contaminated drinking water and poisoned and sickened thousands of people, including children, driving 3,500 families from their homes, as reported by The Washington Post, January 10, 2022. The fuel-storage facility sits 100 feet above Oahu’s main freshwater aquifer. Did Hawaii follow in the footsteps of Vermont’s Governor Phil Scott and foist wrongful actions by the military or the military-industrial complex on civilians while claiming to be powerless? Just the opposite. Health authorities in Hawaii promptly stepped up to require the Navy to stop the abuse. The state issued an emergency order. Then, when the Navy at first contested, the state held a public hearing.

Oahu Water Protectors Demand Navy Stop Poisoning Their Community

A World War II Era underground storage tank containing over 100 million gallons of jet fuel at the Red Hill Fuel Facility has been leaking into the aquifer that provides water to the people of Oahu. Until recently, the Navy denied there were leaks or that the water was unsafe despite multiple complaints of health problems and an oil sheen found in the tap water. Now, the Oahu Water Protectors have gained the Navy's attention and that of local and state elected officials. Wayne Tanaka of the Sierra Club of Hawaii speaks with Clearing the FOG about the fuel facility, what is at stake and how they are organizing to hold the US Navy accountable and shut the facility down. He also discusses the bigger picture of the environmental destruction caused by the US Military and its occupation of Hawai'i.
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