WASHINGTON D.C. (KHON2) — The House Armed Services Readiness Subcommittee held a hearing on the Navy’s Red Hill Bulk Fuel Storage facility on Tuesday, Jan. 11.

Committee members questioned U.S. Navy on the water contamination crisis. Questions included finding out what the navy is doing to restore the public’s trust.

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Rep. Kaialiʻi Kahele is a member of the committee.

“The fuel leak threatens Oahu’s federally regulated aquifer which a ranking member correctly stated provides 77% of Oahu’s drinking water,” said Kahele. “Let me be clear, clean drinking water is national security. It cannot be compromised for anything.”

“It is our collective goal to restore the drinking water system, ensure environmental compliance and coordinate regulatory actions and respond appropriately and expeditiously to the concerns and need to to our impacted residents and families while continuing to support and execute the navy’s mission,” said Vice Admiral Yancy Lindsey, Commander, Navy Installations Command.

The hearing was livestreamed.

Rep Ed Case also participated.

The Chamber of Commerce Hawaii supports the Department of Health’s December 6 Emergency Order to drain the Red Hill fuel storage tanks and correct deficiencies at the fuel facility and is encouraged that the U.S. Navy has agreed to comply with this order. While Red Hill is an important strategic asset in defense of our country, having a clean and safe source of water is of utmost importance and vital to the health and safety of our communities. We all have a vested interest and responsibility to ensure our water and natural resources remain safe for generations to come. The Chamber is hosting an informational briefing by the Board of Water Supply on February 4 at 9:00 AM. Registration and information can be found at cochawaii.org.

Sherry Menor-McNamara
President & CEO
Chamber of Commerce Hawaii

“We can only hope that Navy officials have seen the light and are finally recognizing the inherent danger of this facility,” said Wayne Tanaka, Sierra Club of Hawai’i Chapter Director. “At the same time, it is unsettling that, in today’s Congressional hearing, Rear Admiral Converse still could not explain why the Department of Health ordered the defueling of the Red Hill Facility.”

The Navy agreed to follow the Department of Health’s emergency order on Monday, Jan. 10. The Navy previously had been fighting the order.

This is encouraging, but words are one thing, and actions are another. There are crucial deadlines under the order that must be met in the coming weeks. We need the Department of Health to strictly enforce its emergency order, and not cave in to foot-dragging and excuses.

David Henkin
Earthjustice attorney who represented the Sierra Club of Hawai’i
in its contested case hearing to uphold the emergency order

The Navy reiterates active duty servicemembers can file medical claims with them and it will be paid for by the Navy.

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The Navy continues flushing out their water, more than a month after people first started voicing their concerns.