A day after the Hawaii Department of Health doubled down on its order to the Navy to empty its Red Hill fuel facility, Hawaii’s congressional delegation is advising the military to do as its told.
Sens. Brian Schatz and Mazie Hirono and U.S. Reps. Ed Case and Kai Kahele released a joint statement on Tuesday morning voicing their support for DOH’s directive.
“The Navy must fully comply with the order and begin the process of planning and executing the safe removal of fuel that continues to pose a threat to O‘ahu’s drinking water,” they said.
“Defueling safely will require a coordinated effort, and the delegation will do everything possible to support this effort. Clean drinking water is essential to our health and safety, and our future — we all agree this cannot be compromised for anything.”
It’s a noteworthy change in position for the congressional delegation. Late last year, before the water contamination crisis came to light, Hirono and Case were not in favor of moving the fuel. In general, the delegation has advocated for facility improvements, not its closure.