Red Hill And Oahu’s Water Supply

The Navy needs to act now (May 30, 2018)

After reading Colleen Soares insight in her opinion piece regarding the Red Hill Bulk Fuel Facility, I had to respond as a concerned citizen (“My Tour of The Red Hill Fuel Facility That Threatens Oahu’s Water”).

As the author addresses in her piece, the Navy right now wants to wait 22 years before they act. I am 18 years old, in 22 years I will be 40 years old, potentially with kids by then.

Fence along ridge line on Red Hill above the military housing. Located below in the mountain in the underground fuel tanks.
The fence along the ridge line on Red Hill above the military housing. Located below in the mountain are underground fuel tanks. Cory Lum/Civil Beat

I cannot wait 22 years and be in a position as a citizen where not only the groundwater I grew up with keeps deteriorating, until clean water becomes a thing of the past, but I want to help end this now so that we will not both endanger and burden those who will come after us.

It is my sincere hope that people understand the seriousness of this situation, and choose to get involved and learn, take action, and really show the power of collective action and let’s hold our leaders from the Department of Health, to the United States Navy accountable. Because ultimately, water is a precious natural resource that once you lose, you can never get back.

Water is life!

— Jun Shin, Ala Moana

Wanting water security is not anti-military (June 1, 2018)

Recently, the Sierra Club has received backlash after demanding action on the Red Hill fuel tanks, stating that it is an anti-military sentiment (“Red Hill Criticism Goes Too Far”). After a long, hard, fight the Sierra Club won a case: coming to the conclusion that the fuel tanks on Red Hill are illegally stowed there.

Red Hill is an issue of water security for future generations, not an anti-militaristic ploy. The fuel tanks sit atop an aquifer which serves a large portion of Oahu, with threat of contamination if it is not taken care of ASAP.

The Navy and our government have already contaminated aquifers and oceans, and Oahu can’t handle it anymore unless we want to make it uninhabitable. We either need to fix it up or shut it down to ensure water for this generation and for the future generations.

If the government is illegally storing their tanks, they have the responsibility to either to fix it or shut it down. If gas stations must obey laws, the Navy should too. This is a fight for water security, not an anti-militaristic sentiment. Water is life.

— Charessa Fryc, Kalihi

A looming catastrophe for Oahu (June 1, 2018)

The Red Hill fuel storage tanks are a disaster waiting to happen. Each of the 20 underground tanks hold 12.5 million gallons of jet fuel and sit 100 feet above the Oahu’s largest aquifer where 40 percent of the population gets its drinking water. 

Any enemy targeting the tanks will get a twofer — destroy fuel for the U.S. Pacific Fleet and cripple the ability of Oahu to be a command-and-control center. Fuel storage and drinking water should be decoupled to lessen the vulnerability.

An earthquake could rupture the underground tanks. A fire could cause the tanks to explode. Human error could cause a leak — this already happened multiple times — the latest in 2014 where 27,000 gallons leaked into the ground.

Fortunately, the earth absorbed the leaks so far and fuel has not yet been detected in the main aquifer.

The aquifer under Oahu formed over eons of geologic time and is an irreplaceable resource. Any short-term gain obtained from storing fuel at this site will be completely wiped out if a major leak occurs and contaminates our drinking water. It will be a catastrophe for Oahu.

The risk posed to Oahu is being underestimated and the ability to design and operate leak-proof tanks is being overstated. Storing fuel over our drinking water is a really bad idea.

—Nathan Yuen, volunteer Conservation Chair, Hawaii Sierra Club, Honolulu 

Breaks For Vets

Local public servants need help, too (June 1, 2018)


With all the benefits the military gets that affords them a comfortable life in Hawaii (generous housing allowance or free military housing, cheaper gas, tax-free shopping, free moving services, discounted products and services) why do they need another benefit? (“Members Of Military Might Get A Property Tax Break.”)

How about offering this tax break to public school teachers, police officers, and firefighters? Their lives are also dedicated to serving this nation and — especially in light of the uptick in school shootings — they are all putting their lives at risk daily.

Let’s stop pretending the military in Hawaii are somehow in a disadvantaged position and start offering these breaks to our local heroes who actually need them — our local public servants.

— Joy Coffey, Honolulu

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