Community members have called on the federal agency to do more.

The Navy contaminated Honolulu’s drinking water with fuel in 2021 on the watch of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, but the federal watchdog’s oversight has been deemed sufficient by its inspector general.

In a report released on Tuesday, the EPA inspector general noted that the Navy was subject to a regulatory agreement with the EPA and the state health department at the time of the contamination. The Administrative Order on Consent, signed after a leak at the Red Hill fuel facility in 2014, was meant to prevent another disaster but failed to do so.

Nevertheless, the inspector general indicated there’s nothing more the EPA’s Region 9 office could’ve done.

“Region 9 provided adequate oversight of authorized Hawaii state programs prior to the Red Hill drinking water contamination incident,” the report states.

“The EPA’s regulatory oversight of authorized state programs for underground tanks or drinking water quality would not reasonably have identified the sequence of events that led to the drinking water contamination incident.”

The EPA is now in the process of establishing a new administrative consent order. Community members have criticized the proposal and the EPA for what they consider the agency’s failure to hold the Navy accountable.

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