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Red Hill

Water Protectors Serve ‘Eviction Notice’ To US Navy Command

Puʻuloa, Hawaiʻi – On the anniversary of the 19,000 gallon fuel spill that led to the poisoning of Oʻahu's sole source aquifer and thousands of families, water protectors from across the island presented an "eviction notice" to Navy leaders for numerous Navy and Department of Defense actions that have continually threatened and harmed the lands, waters, and people of of Hawaiʻi - including the Navy’s ongoing refusal to properly address the existential threat posed by the Red Hill Bulk Fuel Storage Facility. "We aren't dumb. We aren't sheep. We know when we are just being fed lines by military officials in the hopes of keeping us quiet. We let them do that to us for too long, and look at what we've got. Those days are over, maybe forever," stated Kainoa Azama, of the Oʻahu Water Protectors.

Families Felt Ill Prior To The 2021 Red Hill Leak… And Here’s Why

Many military and civilian families living on military bases around Pearl Harbor, Hawai’i have been outspoken that they felt ill before the November 2021 massive Red Hill jet fuel leak…and they were right! Recently released data shows that their water was contaminated by jet fuel in the summer of 2021 and they were feeling effects of poisoning long before November 2021. Interviews with ten families published in an extensive December 21, 2021 Washington Post article “Military families say they were ill months before jet-fuel leak brought scrutiny to Pearl Harbor’s tap water,” record that family members shared physicians’ notes, emails and visual records documenting symptoms that, in some cases, dated back to late spring, 2021. 

Oʻahu Water Protectors, Shut Down Red Hill Coalition Commemorate Red Hill ‘Lie-aversary’

Puʻuloa, Oʻahu – Environmental groups along with the Honolulu Board of Water Supply today commemorated the anniversary of a reported whistleblower revelation that Navy officials failed to disclose a months-long active fuel leak in Puʻuloa (Pearl Harbor). Standing outside of the Pearl Harbor National Memorial Visitor Center, dressed in formal funeral attire and wearing black armbands, participants reflected on what they described as “one year of ʻimplausible deniability’” surrounding the Red Hill water crisis, and the impacts that a lack of transparency and truth has had on the people and island of Oʻahu, as well as on the legacies of Puʻuloa and Kapūkakī. The group also unveiled petitions with hundreds of “wet” signatures from local residents demanding that the Navy provide medical support and alternative water sources for those still reporting health and water contamination issues; invest additional resources to ensure the defueling of the Red Hill Bulk Fuel Storage Facility within a matter of months, not years; and engage with the public to respond to community questions and concerns on a monthly basis.

US Military Massive Public Relations Machine Unable To Dig Out Of Red Hill Contamination Hole

The U.S. military’s massive public relations machine produces news releases, articles, films and spends millions of dollars on civilian media contractors to create content for recruiting and selling national security priorities to the American public.  Yet, with all the media assets available to the Department of Defense and each of the military services, the actions of senior civilian and military leadership make it impossible for one of the world’s biggest media conglomerates to dig itself out of the hellhole of the Navy’s Red Hill jet fuel contamination of the drinking water of 93,000 in Hawai’i and lack of medical resources for those poisoned by jet fuel. For example, on September 29, 2022, the Secretary of Defense, retired 4-star Army general, Lloyd Austin, arrived on the island of O’ahu to take a tour of the 80-year-old underground jet fuel tanks that in late November 2021 spewed for 35 hours 19,000 gallons of jet fuel down a tunnel hallway, under a raised door and directly into the Red Hill drinking water well and into a part of the aquifer of Honolulu. 

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.

Red Hill: Navy Hid Video Of 20,000 Gallons Of Jet Fuel Spewing

A dramatic video hidden for 6 months by the Navy of the 34 hours showing 20,000 gallons of jet fuel spraying into a Red Hill tunnel and disappearing into a floor drain that sent thousands of gallons into the water supply of 93,000 residents surfaced on July 5 after an undisclosed Navy employee made public a video that the Navy continued to maintain did not exist.  What little good will for the Navy that was left in the civilian and military community of Honolulu has disappeared as the Navy continues to lie about the Red Hill jet fuel contamination of the drinking water of 93,000.

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.

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.”

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.

So Much For Transparency: Navy Unwilling To Release Report On Red Hill

The slow roll has begun.  With transparency thrown out the window,  the Navy’s announced on January 26 that it would release only the summary of the report on how jet fuel got into the water supply.  “When the review is complete, we expect the Navy to provide a summary of the conclusions in a public release,” the chief of information for the Navy declared. The Navy has released full reports of previous leaks from the Red Hill tanks. The full report was given to the Commander of the US Navy’s Pacific Command, 12 days ago on January 14 and the completed report was only acknowledged on January 24.  The Sierra Club’s attorney David Kimo Frankel said, “The Navy continues to stonewall the public.”

The Red Hill Disaster

In November, a huge underground naval fuel storage facility at Red Hill near Honolulu burst, leaking 14,000 gallons of jet fuel, contaminating the water supply, poisoning scores of people and driving thousands of Hawaiian families from their homes. The state’s attorney general, David Day, has alleged that the military has essentially no control over the safety of the enormous depot, which holds 250 million gallons of fuel. Day remarked that the state had a “ticking time bomb” on its hands, and that further contamination of its precious water supply was all but inevitable. The tanks sit just feet above the island’s largest aquifer. And this incident is merely the latest in a long list showing the American empire’s callous disregard for the civilian population of Hawaii, as it puts military needs before the people or the environment.
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