US military drops appeal of Hawaii order to drain fuel tanks
The U.S. federal government is dropping its appeal of a Hawaii order requiring it to eliminate fuel from a massive military fuel storage facility that dripped petroleum into the Navys water system at Pearl Harbor last yearBy AUDREY McAVOY Associated PressApril 23, 2022, 12:46 PM – 3 min readShare to FacebookShare to TwitterEmail this articleHONOLULU– The U.S. government on Friday dropped its appeals of a Hawaii order needing it to eliminate fuel from a massive military fuel storage center that dripped petroleum into the Navys water supply at Pearl Harbor last year.Attorneys for the U.S. Department of Defense alerted the state and federal courts of its choice. The relocation comes more than a month after Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin stated the armed force would completely shut down the tanks and drain pipes all of their fuel.The Hawaii Department of Health, which issued the order, stated the choice regarding the Red Hill Bulk Fuel Storage Facility was a “action forward.””While todays statement is great news, the work continues,” the department said in a statement. It said it would “continue to act expeditiously and proactively to oversee the safe defueling and decommissioning of Red Hill and repair of the aquifer.”David Henkin, a lawyer for Earthjustice which is representing the Sierra Club of Hawaii as an interested celebration in the event stated his customers would remain watchful to make certain the tanks are without delay defueled.”Its a terrific Earth Day present to the people of Hawaii and in particular to all the locals of Oahu who depend on safe, clean drinking water when they turn on their tap,” Henkin said.The Navy and the Hawaii Department of Health did not immediately react to messages looking for comment.Henkin stated even if Austin were to alter his mind and attempt to keep the tanks open, the armed force will now deal with “an enforceable, unimpeachable, unchallengeable order from the Department of Health that they need to follow.”The order from the Hawaii Department of Health needs the military to eliminate fuel from the tanks 30 days after its safe to do so. The armed force will need to adhere to this due date now that its dropping the appeal, Henkin said.The military, with oversight from the state health department and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, is currently establishing plans to securely remove the fuel. Its unpredictable the length of time this will take.Sen. Brian Schatz, a Democrat from Hawaii, said in a declaration that the dropping of the claim “leads the way for us to shut down Red Hill this year.”The legal obstacle made it hard for the state to work cooperatively with the Defense Department, Schatz stated. He said he pressed hard for the military to make this decision.Petroleum dripped from the Red Hill tanks into a Navy drinking water well late last year, sickening 6,000 people mainly living in military real estate. Medical teams treated individuals suffering queasiness, headaches, rashes and other signs. The military put about 4,000 families in hotels for a number of months while it cleaned its water pipes.The tanks likewise posture a risk to water taken in by 400,000 on Oahu. Thats due to the fact that they sit 100 feet (30 meters) above an aquifer that serves the Honolulu Board of Water Supply, the citys water utility, in addition to the Navys water system.The city energy has actually suspended use of 3 of its wells until it can be sure petroleum wont migrate through the aquifer from the area by the Navys well to its own wells.The water utility and regional leaders are likewise concerned another spill might toxin the citys water supply.