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Friday, April 1, 2022
Red Hill Closure Fake?
By Rep Bob McDermott @ 7:06 PM :: 2219 Views :: Honolulu County, Environment, Military


News Release from Office of Rep Bob McDermott, March 31, 2022

"UH has gotten 5 million to specifically continue ongoing UH efforts to improve the safety of underground fuel storage tanks at Red Hill as the Navy works to defuel the facility."  This is another indicator that tells us that Red Hill is not going to be shut down anytime soon or in the foreseeable future.  As I have stated repeatedly, there is not estimated start date for defueling nor is there and estimated date for a Decommissioning, a shut down.  We have no legal document calling for and funding a shutdown, let alone money to plan it!

We have another example of funding for Red Hill that is, according to David Lassner, …"the University is expected to receive tens of millions over the coming years for related research, including water security and resilience's initiative, hydrology studies and fuel tank corrosion evaluation and monitoring."  

Despite Sec. Lloyd Austin's aspirational statement, we have nothing that indicates closure as a matter of law. Secretaries of Defense do not set Geo-political policy, nor do they have the ability to shed strategic assets.  While I appreciate his sentiments, he lacks to the authority and necessary to unilaterally shut down this DOD asset.  It must come from congress, a statute with attached funding.  Otherwise, it will never happen.  

As long as the Hawaii Congressional delegation keeps recycling the same press release, I am compelled to note that there is not 10 cents in this Bill to cover moving costs or shutdown expenses, or transfers of fuel. There is nothing that specifies closure.  Nothing happens until congress acts through statue.  There are no shutdown plans or relocation plans.  There is no money for closure, let alone the $4B to $10B required to effectively relocate the threat that is Red Hill.  In fact, I could not find in the bill anything specifying shutdown protocols or even reference to monies spent to execute a decommissioning.

However, it does provide a Department of Defense escape clause – a call for a new report detailing all options under consideration by the Department of Defense both to mitigate issues with fuel storage at the Red Hill Bulk Fuel Storage Facility, as well as future plans for the site and Department of Defense fuel storage requirements.

Our congressional delegation has been weak and unable to pass a law to get this facility shutdown down.  Even Biden's proposed DOD request for 2023 is woefully short at a mere $1B to Defuel, still no discussion of closure. They need to get it done now while the Democrats control both houses of congress and the White House.  We don't need more money to study fuel tank corrosion, we simply need to shut it down. A job not finished is a job not done.


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