A mechanical issue at the Maui Space Surveillance Complex released 700 gallons of diesel fuel on the summit of Haleakala. 

Maui County locator map

In a news release, Pacific Air Forces Public Affairs said that a diesel fuel pump for a back-up generator at the facility “failed to shut off” Sunday night. When crews discovered the problem at 8 a.m. the next morning, they immediately deactivated the transfer pump, according to the release. 

Officials are still reviewing the cause of the failure. The news release said fuel spill experts from the Air Force Installation and Mission Support Center will assess the site to begin remediation efforts.

Shortly after the military’s news release, Maui County elected officials and residents began calling for accountability and a thorough investigation into the spill. 

“This 700-gallon fuel spill atop Haleakala is completely unacceptable and very concerning for those who live and work near the summit,” Hawaii Sen. Lynn DeCoite said in a statement. “Haleakala plays a crucial role in the ecosystem of Maui Island, and any contamination of our water sources and natural resources could have devastating effects. 

DeCoite said she would be monitoring the situation and reaching out to the Department of Health, the Environmental Protection Agency and the U.S. Space Forces Indo-Pacific to “ensure transparency throughout their entire investigation and to hold them accountable in keeping the community up-to-date on any major findings.”

Civil Beat’s coverage of Maui County is supported in part by grants from the Nuestro Futuro Foundation and the Fred Baldwin Memorial Foundation.

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