For the past several months the Oʻahu Water Protectors have been fighting to make the U.S. Navy shut down its Red Hill jet fuel storage facility which has already poisoned the drinking water of the Oʻahu community. Every day that the facility remains open, water is at risk of even worse contamination. Despite this, the U.S. Navy is resisting a growing movement demanding that Red Hill be immediately shut down and contamination be cleaned up.
Left Voice stands in solidarity with the movement to shut down Red Hill and with the broader fight against the imperialist military of the United States which destroys the environment and threatens the working class and oppressed communities around the world. We have signed onto a statement by the Oʻahu Water Protectors and are republishing it below. We encourage our readers and other organizations to sign the statement in solidarity with the movement in Oʻahu.
Are you down to join the fight to protect Oʻahu’s drinking water? Read our coalition statement below to learn more about what we stand for. We hope you join us to organize for the protection of our water, health, safety, and the environment.
Ola I Ka Wai — Water is Life
O‘ahu Water Protectors (OWP) is a coalition of grassroots organizations and concerned individuals working to ensure the water security of Oʻahu for present and future generations.
For nearly 80 years, the U.S. Navy has stored well over 100 million gallons of fuel in 20, 20-story massive underground storage tanks in Kapūkakī, also known as Red Hill, a ridge between Hālawa and Moanalua.
Located a mere 100 feet above Oʻahu’s primary drinking water source these deteriorating tanks have leaked more than 180,000 gallons of fuel over their lifetime. Their walls have corroded to less than the thickness of a dime and are under high pressure from the large volume of jet fuel. While the Board of Water Supply maintains that Oʻahu’s drinking water is currently safe to consume, the recent pattern of leaks suggests that the tanks and their connected distribution system are failing and have a high probability of catastrophic failure that would make our water supply undrinkable:
– In 2014, 27,000 gallons of jet fuel leaked from Tank 5.
– In March 2020, a pipeline connected to Red Hill leaked an unknown quantity of fuel into Pearl Harbor Hotel Pier. The leak, which had stopped, started again in June 2020. Approximately 7,100 gallons of fuel was collected from the surrounding environment.
– In January 2021, a pipeline that leads to the Hotel Pier area failed two leak detection tests. In February, a Navy contractor determined that there is an active leak at Hotel Pier. The Department of Health only found out in May.
– In May 2021, over 1,600 gallons of fuel leaked from the facility due to human error after a control room operator failed to follow correct procedures.
– In July 2021, 100 gallons of fuel was released into Pearl Harbor, possibly from a source connected to the Red Hill facility.
– In November 2021, residents from the neighborhoods of Foster Village and Aliamanu called 911 to report the smell of fuel, later found likely to have come from a leak from a fire suppression drain line connected to Red Hill. -The Navy reported that about 14,000 gallons of a fuel-water mixture had leaked.
– The Navy’s own risk assessment reports that there is a 96% chance that up to 30,000 gallons of fuel will leak into the aquifer over the next 10 years.
The Red Hill fuel tanks are an environmental time bomb threatening the drinking water for 400,000 Oʻahu residents.
Oʻahu Water Protectors unites around the following points:
1. Water is life. Access to clean drinking water is a basic human right.
2. The Red Hill fuel tanks are a threat to Oʻahu’s drinking water and must be retired as soon as possible.
3. We demand that local, state, and federal officials take urgent action to shut down the Red Hill fuel tanks in order to protect drinking water on Oʻahu.
Join our efforts to protect Oʻahu’s drinking water by endorsing this coalition statement and helping with outreach, education, and action.