U.S. House Adopts Case Proposal To Strengthen Inspection and Safety Standards for Red Hill Fuel Tanks
Proposal is one of nine Case amendments adopted in Fiscal Year 2022 National Defense Authorization Act
Washington, September 23, 2021
Tags: National Security
The $768 billion annual defense funding measure passed by the House includes several historic policy changes for nation’s military
(Washington, DC) – Congressman Ed Case (HI-01) announced that the full U.S. House has approved his floor amendment to the $768 billion Fiscal Year (FY) 2022 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) to require stricter inspection and safety standards for the military’s fuel tanks and supporting infrastructure at Red Hill on O’ahu.
The amendment was one of nine offered by Case, cosponsored by Congressman Kaiali‘i Kahele (HI-02), and adopted by the House prior to House passage of the NDAA today.
“My amendment requires a significantly enhanced inspection standard for Red Hill’s pipeline system and other supporting infrastructure and appurtenances,” said Case, a member of the U.S. House Committee on Appropriations with jurisdiction over defense spending. “It also requires the Naval Facilities Engineering Command (NAVFAC) to apply that standard in a full updated inspection of the Red Hill facility to confirm system integrity, with results, a life-cycle sustainment plan and options for further improving the security and maintenance of the facility reported directly to Congress for any further action required.”
Case’s successful amendment follows leaks earlier this year in the tank support system, which are pending a full NAVFAC report, along with the recent proposed Decision and Order issued by a hearing officer with the Hawai‘i State Department of Health (DOH) who recommended that the DOH renew the Navy’s permit to operate and maintain Red Hill facility for five years subject to a number of additional conditions. One condition would similarly require all active tanks to be submitted to substantially strengthened and more frequent inspection and repair requirements.
“Since 2015 alone, the military has invested $218 million in infrastructure and maintenance programs at Red Hill, and another $470 million is budgeted for FY 2021 through FY 2025,” said Case. “In my Appropriations work, with the Department of Defense (DoD) and otherwise, I have continually emphasized the critical importance of these funds, given both the concerns of Honolulu residents and the critical importance of Red Hill to our national defense in the Indo-Pacific.”
“I have also continued to focus the Navy on other efforts to ensure Red Hill’s safety, in particular a double-hull or double-hull equivalent requirement, which the Navy has committed to meet or else phase out tank use.
“If and as any of these requirements or enhanced inspections indicates that even more ongoing funding is required, I will fully prioritize such funding in Congress.”
Case’s other accepted NDAA amendments include:
· Hawai‘i Military Land Leases: Requires an annual report to Congress on the progress by DoD to renew each military land lease and easement in Hawai‘i.
It also emphasizes that the military’s efforts must account for both military and civilian concerns in order to maintain public support for the presence of the military in Hawai‘i.
· Hawai‘i Master Land Use Plan Updates: Codifies a requirement to update the U.S. Indo-Pacom Hawai‘i Master Land Use Plan every five years until 2045 to synchronize all DoD activities on Hawai‘i to optimize the use of limited geography. It also expresses the sense of Congress that the DoD and Hawai‘i partnership should be based on the principles of respect for the land, people and culture of Hawai‘i that maximizes the joint use of DoD land holdings.
· Military Community Engagement: Requires a report on best practices for the military’s coordination of relations with State and Local Government entities in Hawai‘i. It will also direct the DoD to examine current community outreach efforts and propose options to enhance community engagement and accessibility of the military in Hawai‘i.
· Marine Corps Infrastructure: Requires a report from the Marine Corps, which identifies what infrastructure is needed to directly support the Marine Corps’ realignment in the Indo-Pacific. This will support efforts to improve the aging infrastructure at Marine Corps Base Hawai‘i.
· Investigation into Lazing of Military Aircraft in Hawai‘i: Addresses the lazing of military aircraft in Hawai‘i by requiring an official investigation into these incidents and offering means of mitigating the risk to military aircraft and personnel.
· Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA) Report: Amends the DIA annual report on China’s military power to require analysis of China’s military engagements and assistance provided to the Pacific Islands Region.
· Security Partnerships Between the United States and Indo-Pacific Countries: Requires the Secretary of Defense to submit a report to Congress on the activities and resources required to enhance security partnerships between the United States and Indo-Pacific countries.
· Military Presence in Palau: Expresses the sense that Congress is receptive to Palau’s request that the United States establish a regular military presence in Palau for defensive purposes.
Case said the NDAA also includes other provisions for which he has advocated that are key to Hawai‘i and the Indo-Pacific, including:
· Missile Defense Radar – Hawai‘i: Expresses the sense of Congress that Hawai‘i should have discrimination radar coverage against intercontinental ballistic missiles, equivalent to Alaska’s long range discrimination radar and that the Missile Defense Agency should request adequate funding for the radar in the future years defense program. (This follows continued funding for the radar obtained by Case in the annual defense appropriations measure.)
· Authorizes $75 million to continue development of Homeland Defense Radar – Hawai‘i. The HDR-H is a critical state-of-the-art radar system designed to protect our country and state from ballistic missile threats from countries like North Korea and was strongly supported by our Indo-Pacific military leaders. This “discriminating radar” will be capable of identifying and classifying specific missile threats and will address current and emerging threats.
· Aeromedical Squadron at Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam: Requires a study on the feasibility and advisability of establishing an aeromedical squadron of the Air National Guard in Hawai‘i to support the aeromedical mission needs of the State of Hawai‘i.
· Guam Integrated Air and Missile Defense System: Directs the DoD to identify the architecture and acquisition approach for implementing a 360-degree integrated air and missile defense capability to defend the people, infrastructure and Territory of Guam from advanced cruise, ballistic and hypersonic missile threats.
· Authorizes the following military construction projects in Hawai‘i:
o West Loch Naval Magazine: $51 million
o Marine Corps Base Kāne‘ohe Bachelor Enlisted Quarters, Phase 2: $101 million
o Joint Base Pearl Harbor Hickam Veterinary Treatment Facility Replacement: $30 million
o Maui Experimental Site Secure Integration Support Lab: $88 million
This year’s bill also provides a 2.7 percent pay increase for servicemembers to keep up with inflation and civilian pay increases, and to help those in the private sector who support the U.S. military, the bill establishes a $15 minimum wage for covered service and construction contracts.
It further makes historic changes to the Uniform Code of Military Justice to combat sexual assault in the military, authorizes $50 million to help local educational agencies that educate military dependent students, and authorizes $20 million for local educational agencies assisting military children with severe disabilities. Finally, it gives the mayor of Washington, D.C. the power to call up the District’s National Guard troops during emergencies, which is the same authority enjoyed by state and territorial governors.