HONOLULU (KHON2) — The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is giving the public a chance to weigh in on issues at Red Hill.

The EPA released a proposed order for how the U.S. Navy should shut down the Red Hill fuel storage facility and ensure safety of its Oahu drinking water system.

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The draft agreement doesn’t put a firm deadline on defueling and closure of the tanks and gives the Navy and the Defense Logistics Agency until at least January 2024 just to submit a plan about how to do it.

In its nearly 70-page consent order, the EPA said the fuel contaminants present or likely to enter drinking water pose an imminent health risk. The EPA said state and local authorities have not done enough to protect people, citing reports of leaks dating back to the late 1990s.

A spokesperson for the state Department of Health told KHON2: ““The proposed Administrative Consent Order aligns with the Hawaii Department of Health’s Emergency Order requiring the Navy to safely defuel and close the Red Hill Bulk Fuel Storage Facility. DOH will continue to vigorously enforce its order and take all steps necessary to protect public health and the environment while working collaboratively with the EPA.”

The Honolulu Board of Water Supply told KHON2 that “the BWS is fully supportive of further administrative action to address and prevent releases of fuel and other hazardous substances from the Red Hill facility; safely expedite the Red Hill defueling; and closure process and protect drinking water, natural resources, human health and the environment. BWS will provide detailed comments once our review of the recently-released draft order is complete.”

A public meeting will be held in Honolulu the week of Jan. 16, and comments are due Feb. 6. More details can be found at this link.

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The Sierra Club of Hawaii said in a statement: “Federal officials have developed yet another toothless and potentially dangerous agreement that would tolerate keeping our water, our island home and put our very way of life at risk of devastation for well over a year if not much, much longer. Hawaii residents must use the public comment opportunity to demand that the EPA do better.”