By Zachary Anderson, AsAmNews Staff Writer
The US Department of Defense announced that the Red Hill Fuel Storage Facility in Hawaii will be defueled and permanently closed down according to an official March 7 statement issued by Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin.
“Throughout the process, we will work closely with the Hawaii Department of Health and with the Environmental Protection Agency to safely defuel the Red Hill facility,” the statement read. “This is the right thing to do.”
In the same statement, the Pentagon projected that the 250-million-gallon storage facility will be defueled May 31 before being closed for good.
As AsAmNews previously reported, on Nov. 20 14,000 gallons of fuel leaked into one of Oahu’s major sources of fresh drinking water. As a result, over 1,700 military families were displaced during the 2021 holiday season.
“The Navy has lost the trust of thousands of families in Hawaii, and they have to work hard to build that trust back and to make things right,” said Mai Hall to AsAmNews, whose family got sick after drinking the contaminated water. “Now, the Navy must follow orders and defuel the tanks, which is what Hawaii residents and native Hawaiians have wanted for years.
Despite relief from activists, there is still concern about the Navy’s plan to relocate the fuel to other parts of the Pacific region.
“This fuel represents a threat to the health of people and the environment whether it is placed in Hawaii or other parts of the Pacific.” Oahu Water Protectors organizer Kawena’uloakala Kapahua told AsAmNews. “Our islands have suffered enough water contamination. Take the fuel back to the US and keep it out of our islands.”
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