Kaʻohewai sees the Navy’s intent to comply with the order to safely defuel its Kapūkaki (Red Hill) facility as a good start, but just a start.
Kaʻohewai is committed to ensuring that the fuel is removed and that the tanks are never refilled. “The Red Hill facility should never have been built over our aquifer. To make matters worse, the Navy has failed to operate its facility safely, offered lies and half-truths about its leaks, and has prioritized convenient access to fuel above the health and safety of families. We cannot afford to wait until the next catastrophe before taking active steps to permanently shut the facility down,” said Camille Kalama, a core leader of Kaʻohewai and Native Hawaiian rights attorney.
“The Navy must also take immediate action to clean up the fuel in a manner that does no further harm–not just to people but to our fragile environments and all the life and cultural practices they support. This work needs to be done soon before the fuel spreads further throughout the aquifer and poisons more of the water that much of O’ahu depends on, and before the fuel naturally moves through the water cycle out to the ocean,” added Kalama.
In determining a best plan to clean the fuel out of the aquifer, Kaʻohewai strongly urges the Navy and governmental agencies involved to apply a highly transparent decision making process that includes trusted community experts. The selected remediation plan must earn the confidence of our communities. “While military leaders will cycle out of Hawaiʻi every few years, our communities will remain for many generations to come. We and our descendants will have to bear the consequences of the choices made today. So these choices have to be solid,” stressed Kalama.