On Sept. 26, 2022, a series of explosions rocked the Nord Stream 1 and 2 pipelines in the Baltic Sea off the coast of Denmark. Danish and Swedish authorities quickly determined that the damage done to the pipelines was not caused by earthquakes or other seismic activity, but by “blasts.” The pipelines were a crucial part of Europe’s energy infrastructure, delivering billions of cubic meters of gas from Russia. Over 500,000 tons of methane, a greenhouse gas 80x more damaging for the climate than carbon dioxide, were released from the explosions in the largest ever recorded single methane leak in human history.
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.
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.
Activists with CodePink, in solidarity with Hawaii-based water protectors, on Friday projected images on a submarine tower outside the Navy museum in Washington, D.C., calling for a shutdown of a military fuel storage facility associated with contamination of Oahu drinking water. Messages displayed on the USS Balao Conning Tower included "Shut down Red Hill tanks," "Demilitarize Hawaii," and "Navy is poison." In a Saturday statement, CodePink said that the "Navy's failure to protect its sailors, their families, and the broader community is further justification of the need to demilitarize and decolonize Hawai'i and serves as a testament to the military's prioritization of 'business as usual' over the health and wellbeing of the people."
While the U.S. Navy continues to argue that U.S. national security requires that its 80-year-old leaking 20 story underground jet fuel tanks remain open, I argue the opposite--that for U.S. national security reasons the 200-million-gallon facility be closed down before a catastrophic leak destroys the potable water supply for 400,00 residents of Oahu. Once the aquifer is contaminated by a predicted major fuel leak, it cannot be flushed out or be rehabilitated. U.S. Navy officials have said that the water from a contaminated aquifer would have to be filtered either by a massive filtration system that does not yet exist or individual households would have to filter the water at home. The Navy does not have a filtration system on the island of Oahu and citizens do not have sufficient bottled water or individual household filtration systems should there be a catastrophic leak of toxic jet fuel into our water supply.