FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Media Contact: Marti Townsend, Director
Phone: (808) 372-1314
Public meeting on Red Hill Fuel Tanks Reveals Major Concerns
Navy reports reveal extensive corrosion and assumes large, sudden leak from Red Hill fuel tank would have minimal impact on Oʻahu’s groundwater
Honolulu, Hawaiʻi (November 1, 2018) — The Department of Health hosted the annual meeting of the Red Hill Task Force today to hear updates and public concerns about the upgrade of the field-constructed underground storage tanks at Red Hill.
Representatives from the Navy used up most of the allotted meeting time by repeating statements slowly and reading presentation slides out-loud. When the chair of the meeting prepared to adjourn the meeting without taking public testimony, members of the audience cited Hawaiʻi’s “Sunshine Law,” which guarantees the public’s right to present oral testimony at public meetings. More than 70 people submitted written testimony to the Task Force urging that the tanks be immediately retired to protect the drinking water source for 400,000 residents and visitors on Oʻahu. More than a dozen people offered oral testimony expressing their significant concerns about recent reports regarding the Red Hill tanks.
Recent reports revealed that:
The fuel tanks are thinner and far more corroded than the Navy had a previously assumed. Read a summary of preliminary corrosion findings here.
The Navy assumes that a sudden release of 120,000 gallons of fuel or a slow release of 2,300 gallons of fuel per year per tank “would have, at most, a minimal impact to groundwater.” Read an excerpt of the Navy’s Groundwater Protection Plan here.
Naval officials reported in 2002 releases of unknown quantities of fuel from Tank #6 to the Health Department, contradicting current Navy claims that there has been no release of fuel between the 1980’s and 2014. Read recently published “confirmed release notice” dated 2002.
In response, Marti Townsend, Director for the Sierra Club of Hawaiʻi, issued the following statement:
“It is hard to trust the U.S. Navy’s claims on the Red Hill Fuel Tanks. The Navy has assumed a lot about these tanks that has turned out to not be true. And that distrust just grows when they occupy all the time at an open meeting, potentially denying the public the opportunity to speak.
It appears that the Navy is willing to risk Oʻahu’s clean drinking water on a hunch that these massive, dilapidated tanks will not leak anymore. That’s not good enough. We should be making decisions that are the most cautious and protective of our water resources. The Navy cannot claim it needs these tanks for “national security,” when these tanks are the biggest risk to the future of our drinking water supply.
It is time to stop wasting money and risking our future on a facility that is far too gone to be made safe. It is time to retire the Red Hill Bulk Fuel Storage Facility.”
About the Sierra Club of Hawaiʻi: Formed in 1968, the Sierra Club of Hawaiʻi has over 20,000 members and supporters working throughout the islands to stop climate change, ensure climate justice for all, and protect Hawaiʻi’s unique natural resources. The Sierra Club is the largest, oldest environmental organization in the U.S. We rely on volunteers to support outdoor education programs, trail and native species restoration projects, and grassroots advocacy for sound environmental policies.