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Tuesday, May 9, 2023
Hawaii Officials Sign Unified Statement on Red Hill
By News Release @ 11:30 PM :: 2256 Views :: Honolulu County, Environment, Military

STATE AND CITY LEADERS SIGN UNIFIED STATEMENT ON RED HILL

News Release from Hawaii Legislature, May 9, 2023

Honolulu, Hawaiʻi – In a historic show of solidarity, state and city leaders gathered at the Hawaiʻi State Capitol on Tuesday to sign a unified statement on Red Hill, calling for aquifer remediation and an integrated approach to resolving the water crisis. The signed statement represents the shared kuleana in Hawaiʻi's leadership to preserve access to safe, pure water and signifies the commitment to cooperating across all governmental levels and agencies.

Members of the House Special Committee on Red Hill, which focuses on the containment, treatment, and prevention of water quality issues pertaining to Red Hill, worked on the unified statement with the help of community advocates. The seven-member committee was initially formed by the House of Representatives in December 2021 after thousands of gallons of jet fuel leaked from the Red Hill facility, affecting hundreds of families living on Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam and nearby areas with contaminated drinking water, raising national concerns regarding a public health crisis and environmental catastrophe in the state of Hawaiʻi.

State and city leaders who signed the statement include Governor Josh Green, M.D., Mayor Rick Blangiardi, House Speaker Scott K. Saiki, Senate President Ronald D. Kouchi, Honolulu City Council Chair Tommy Waters, State Department of Health Director Dr. Kenneth S. Fink, Honolulu Board of Water Supply Chief Engineer Ernie Lau, Board of Land and Natural Resources Chair Dawn N.S. Chang, and University of Hawaiʻi President David Lassner.

The parties will convene over the next three to four months to develop a blueprint to achieve the shared goal of clean water for the future. Organizers intend on welcoming public input in portions of the workshops so that the group can include manaʻo from communities statewide. The plan is intended to serve as a guide and a living document for what must be done to clean up Red Hill and the aquifer so that future generations can have ensured access to clean water.

“All of us in leadership positions — whether government, community organizations and, of course, the military — have to work together to ensure the water and the land at Red Hill and the aquifer under it, will be remediated properly and expeditiously. Clean water for future generations must be our shared goal,” said Governor Josh Green, M.D.

"It cannot be overstated that what is at stake regarding the quality and purity of our aquifer, is the health and well being of all of our people living on Oʻahu now, and for future generations,” said Mayor Rick Blangiardi. “There is no greater priority!”

"When our community speaks with one voice, that voice is powerful, and it cannot be ignored," said House Speaker Scott K. Saiki. "With this statement, we express our intention to work together to ensure that future negotiations are framed around the long-term goals of clean water and environmental remediation, and we support a fair procedure for accomplishing these goals."

"As leaders, we have a responsibility to ensure clean drinking water for our constituents and future generations,” noted Senate President Ron Kouchi. “Remediation of the Red Hill fuel tanks and facilities must align with what is in the best interest and health of the people of Hawaiʻi, and I am committed to working with my colleagues to realize this commitment.

"I am so proud to stand shoulder to shoulder with my state and federal colleagues in support of our wai. The 'āina and wai are truly sacred resources that must be protected and preserved for our community and future generations. That's why, with determination, collaboration, and a strong commitment to the people of Hawaiʻi, we will continue to take decisive actions to ensure that this Red Hill water crisis is remediated and corrective actions are taken." said Honolulu City Council Chair Tommy Waters.

“Throughout our response to the Red Hill crisis, we have prioritized the health of our aquifer. We need the Navy to feel the same sense of urgency that we do to remediate the damage caused by Red Hill. The Navy is responsible for this crisis—and we will continue to hold them accountable as we work with stakeholders on all levels to create a robust plan to restore and protect our aquifer," said Kathleen Ho, Deputy Director of Environmental Health, Hawaiʻi State Department of Health.

"The Board of Water Supply supports defueling the remaining 104 million gallons of fuel quickly and safely, and the complete shut down and permanent dismantling of the Red Hill Fuel Facility. However, the work does not stop there, remediation of the aquifer and environment must also be a top priority," said Honolulu Board of Water Supply Chief Engineer Ernie Lau. "The petroleum and PFAS chemicals now in the ground water and environment must be cleaned up if we are to be sure of our water's purity and safety for generations to come. The military must be held accountable and responsible to this until it is done, for as long as it takes, and regardless of cost. We stand in unity with our leaders to accomplish this together for Hawaiʻi. There is no substitute for pure water! Ola I Ka Wai!"

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PDF: Signed Statement

SA: Hawaii leaders unite over long-term Red Hill cleanup

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