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To: President Biden, Secretary of Defense Austin, Secretary of the Navy Del Toro; Hawai’i Congressional Delegation; Governor of State of Hawai'i; Director, Hawaii’s Department of Health; Environmental Protection Agency

Shut Down Massive Red Hill Jet Fuel Tanks NOW, Not in One Year

Petition Text

We demand that the U.S. Navy empty and shut down NOW twenty giant 80-year-old leaking jet fuel tanks that are embedded in Red Hill above Pearl Harbor Naval Base and that sit 100 feet above the water supply of Honolulu, Oahu, Hawaii. In November 2021, the drinking water for 93,000 residents was contaminated by fuel from these tanks and two wells closed down. Secretary of Defense Austin said that DOD will close the tanks, BUT it will take one year--We demand they be shut down NOW, before another big jet fuel leak into our drinking water!

Why is this important?

The U.S. Navy has 225 million gallons of jet fuel stored in twenty, 20-story fuel tanks constructed 80 years ago during World War II inside Red Hill. These tanks sit a mere 100 feet above Honolulu’s water supply.

We do not trust in 80 year-old tanks that now are as thin as a dime with the pressure of 12.5 million gallons in each tank.

With the November 2021 contamination of 93,000 residents who ironically are in the military communities around Pearl Harbor, we know it is only a matter of time before contamination may reach the aquifer polluting the water for 400,000 residents of Honolulu.
The Governor and members of the Hawai'i Congressional delegation have finally called for suspension of Red Hill operations and the removal of the fuel from the tanks.

State and Federal officials are also concerned about the U.S. Navy’s plan for the tanks and in a October 26, 2020 letter, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the State of Hawaii’s Department of Health rejected the U.S. Navy’s plan for the tanks as “deficient.”

According to ABS Consulting, a firm hired by the U.S. Navy, there is a 27.6% chance of a leak of up to 30,000 gallons of fuel during any given year which has been called a “conservative" estimate by an EPA specialist.
ABS also calculated a 34% chance of a release of over 120,000 gallons in the next 100 years. Chronic, undetected releases are expected to total 5,803 gallons per year, according to ABS.
In 2014, Fuel tank #5 leaked 24,000 gallons. That same fuel tank was put back into operation in 2020.

In September 2019, the Navy released its preferred plan on how to upgrade the Red Hill tanks after studying six tank upgrade options. The Navy’s preferred choice—the least protective and least expensive option—is to keep the original steel tank liner, coat it with epoxy, and explore installing a water treatment plant to filter toxic chemicals from Oʻahu’s drinking water in the case of another major leak.

The plan also commits to some undefined, undetermined “double-wall equivalency” solution or relocation of the tanks “around 2045”– which proposes to extend the deadline to upgrade the tanks another 7 years using some unknown, future technology that is not actually a double-walled solution.

The idea of putting off another 20 years until 2045 a decision on the future of the tanks is irresponsible. Other Department of Defense fuel tanks locations have replaced their aging fuel tanks that too have had leaks. With the largest budget in U.S. history-over $780 billion this year, DOD can certainly put into its budget the removal of the fuel tanks from Red Hill.
The $194 million overhaul of the Point Loma-San Diego, California fuel tanks began in 2005 and was finished in 2013. 54 underground and above-ground fuel storage tanks were replaced with eight tanks, all above ground. Fuel tanks at Kitsap Naval Base, Washington are also being replaced.

While Department of Defense will cite national security for the necessity of retaining the tanks, as residents of Oahu we believe our human security demands the protection of our water supply. We residents of Oahu rely on the Department of Health to protect us from danger. Red Hill jet fuel tanks are the biggest danger the residents of Oahu have.

Following are among many documents that provide evidence of the dangers of Red Hill jet fuel tanks to our public safety:
University of Hawaii video of the Red Hill fuel tanks
How the Military Poisoned its Families
Link to the 103 page report of the Hearing Officer that was released September 10, 2021.

How it will be delivered

Email to the Secretary of Defense, Secretary of the Navy and hand carry to the Office of the Governor of Hawai'i and to the offices of each member of our Congressional delegation.




2021-12-07 01:38:04 -0500

On December 6, 2021, the Governor of Hawai'i ordered the US Navy to suspend operations of the massive, leaking 80 year old jet fuel tanks that have contaminated the the drinking water of 93,000 military families that live around Pearl Harbor and the fuel tanks.
If the tanks leak more, the drinking water for another 400,000 who live in Honolulu will be contaminated!!

2021-09-18 23:02:52 -0400

Honolulu Star Advertiser Sept 19, 2021
Among Chang’s recommendations: that any tank not properly inspected and repaired by Dec. 31, 2024, be removed from active use until inspected and repaired; and that the Navy provide annual progress reports to the DOH on inspections and repairs.
All that, at the very least, must be conditioned if the five-year permit is approved. And in that period, the Navy should work apace to realize the goal of double-lining tanks or relocating them altogether — not just maintain the status quo.

2021-09-18 22:57:00 -0400

Star Advertiser Sept 19,2021
“Given the documented history of releases at the site, the uncertainty associated with the Navy’s groundwater model, and the lack of treatment or recovery systems in place to date, the Navy has not met its burden of demonstrating that this facility is protective of human health and the environment from potentially ‘significant’ future releases,” wrote James Paige, a deputy attorney general for the EHA.
While it met design and construction standards for the tanks, “the Navy’s actual performance of inspections and repairs to the Red Hill tanks is sorely deficient,” Chang found. Only nine of the 18 active tanks had been properly inspected for condition and integrity in the last 20 years; two tanks hadn’t been inspected in 38 years, while another hadn’t been inspected in 40 years.
That’s stunning — and reveals a woeful, worrisome level of laxity. What else is unknown about the tanks’ condition and their upkeep?

2021-09-18 22:56:33 -0400

Honolulu Star Advertiser
September 19, 2021
Sidestepping Red Hill tanks
Step by deliberate step, safe-water advocates have rightly been pressing the U.S. Navy to do the right thing on its aging underground fuel tanks at Red Hill: Get moving on redoubling the tanks’ structural integrity, or relocate them altogether.
So it was something of a sidestep last week, when a state Department of Health (DOH) hearing officer recommended that the Navy be approved for a five year permit to continue operating the 20 massive fuel tanks, despite mounting doubts about the Navy’s ability to do so safely.
During the months-long contested-case hearing on the permit application, a July report by the DOH’s own Environmental Health Administration (EHA) said the Navy had not proved it can safely operate the tanks, which sit just 100 feet above an aquifer supplying drinking water to some 763,000 Oahu residents.

2021-09-12 18:28:38 -0400

After months of deliberation, a hearing officer has recommended that the Navy get its state permit to operate underground fuel tanks at Red Hill, but said it should come with inspection and repair requirements after determining the tanks are a pollution risk to a major source of Oahu’s drinking water.

“The storage of over 180 million gallons of petroleum fuel products 100 feet above Oahu’s sole source aquifer is inherently dangerous,” the recommendation said. “The risk of potential pollution of the Red Hill potable water aquifer is real.”

2021-07-15 12:32:03 -0400

BIG NEWS-Navy request for 5-year permit to operate Red Hill raises red flags
State environmental regulators said this week that the Navy has not proved it can safely operate its underground Red Hill fuel tanks, which in recent years have been the subject of mounting concerns over leaks and groundwater contamination.
The conclusion, submitted by the Hawaii Department of Health’s Environmental Health Administration as part of a contested case hearing, raises the possibility that the state might DENY the Navy a five-year permit to continue to operate the facility!

2021-02-04 11:11:33 -0500

URL link to view live streamed Hawai'i Department of Health Contested Case Hearing regarding the Red Hill Underground Storage Tank Facility Permit Application: Feb. 1 – 5, 2021. Each day of the planned five-day hearing will have a unique url that you can use to access the day’s hearing. The urls for each day are:

Feb 1
Feb 2
Feb 3
Feb 4
Feb 5

2021-02-04 11:09:12 -0500

In Honolulu Star Advertiser on February 2, a story on Red Hill fuel tanks based on the testimonies that are happening at 8am everyday this week:
Tanks have always leaked, testified Kimo Frankel, attorney for the Sierra Club. The Red Hill fuel tanks have constantly had problems. Frankel, attorney for the Sierra Club, said a Navy report concluded that the probability of a sudden leak of between 1,000 and 30,000 gallons over the next year is 27.6%, with that risk rising to 96% over the next 10 years.
“The Navy cannot be given a free pass to ruin our water,” Frankel said. “The Department of Health must conclude that the Navy’s permit to operate its antiquated and leaky tanks is unacceptable.”

2020-11-08 09:02:54 -0500

1,000 signatures reached

2020-11-07 23:05:48 -0500

500 signatures reached

2020-11-05 07:31:13 -0500

100 signatures reached

2020-11-02 22:55:07 -0500

50 signatures reached

2020-11-02 16:41:22 -0500

25 signatures reached

2020-11-02 11:09:30 -0500

10 signatures reached