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Kahele, Case Introduce Legislation To Permanently Shut Down Red Hill

(HONOLULU, HI) – U.S. Congressmen Kaialiʻi Kahele (HI-02) and Ed Case (HI-01) announced today the introduction of the Red Hill Watershed and Aquifer Initiative (WAI) Act, federal legislation to permanently shut down the Red Hill Bulk Fuel Storage Facility. 

“The Red Hill WAI Act ensures the complete and permanent shut down of the Red Hill Bulk Fuel Storage Facility and requires the United States Navy to defuel the facility by the end of the year,”  said Congressman Kaialiʻi Kahele.  “Too many people have suffered and are still suffering as a direct result of the fuel leaks at Red Hill – this is unacceptable.

“I have spoken to many families who describe serious illnesses after cooking, bathing, or ingesting tainted water. And still, after several months, there are thousands of families that remain displaced – unable to return to their homes. I will continue to do everything I can to help protect the people and the island of Oʻahu and our most precious natural resource, our wai.”  

“I support our military, and understand fully our need to remain strong and prepared throughout the Indo-Pacific including a strategic fuel reserve capacity,” said Congressman Ed Case. “But that cannot excuse Red Hill’s harm to thousands of my constituents, nor justify the ongoing risk it poses to our drinking water under its current or any future configuration and operation as a bulk fuel storage facility.

“Rather than prolong the Department of Defense’s unfortunate legal action and analysis of Red Hill’s future, Congress and Hawaiʻi must step in now and mandate that Red Hill’s future does not include bulk fuel storage.

“I remain fully committed, especially as a member of the U.S. House Committee on Appropriations, to supporting and funding both the defueling, decommissioning and remediation of Red Hill and the identification and funding of alternate strategic fuel storage capacity that will maintain a strong national defense without risk to our families.” 

 The Red Hill Watershed and Aquifer Initiative (WAI) Act would: 

  • Discontinue all fuel operations at the Red Hill Bulk Fuel Storage Facility in Hawaiʻi;
  • Defuel all bulk storage tanks located at Red Hill by the end of 2022;
  • Permanently close the facility in accordance with the current practices recommended by the Environmental Protection Agency 

 This legislation authorizes funding to allow the Navy to address and perform environmental remediation for the November 2021 spill and any other spill that occurred during the operation of the facility. In addition, it would require the Navy to establish water treatment and testing facilities; reimburse the State of Hawaiʻi Departments of Health and Education and the Honolulu Water Supply for costs associated with water contamination; and provide a monthly report to Congress on the progress towards defueling. This legislation would also require additional funding for research so the federal government can continue water monitoring to protect the residents of Oʻahu. Companion legislation is being introduced in the Senate by U.S. Senator Brian Schatz (D-Hawaiʻi).