~ Repacking the pipelines is the next step in completing the defueling process of the Red Hill fuel storage facility ~
HONOLULU, HI – Today, U.S. Senator Mazie K. Hirono (D-HI), a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee and Chair of the Subcommittee on Readiness and Management Support, spoke with Vice Admiral John Wade, commander of the Joint Task Force-Red Hill (JTF-RH), ahead of the repacking of the Red Hill pipelines. Repacking the pipelines is the next step in completing the defueling process of the Red Hill fuel storage facility, and is set to begin on Monday, August 28th.
“The repacking of the fuel tank pipelines is a crucial step towards the safe defueling and permanent closure of Red Hill,” said Senator Hirono. “During my call with Admiral Wade, I reiterated the importance of prioritizing the safety of our communities throughout this process, and Admiral Wade concurred – highlighting the preparation his Task Force has done, along with state and federal agencies, to ensure this process occurs safely and without incident. I am glad that we are making swift progress in this process while prioritizing safety and, as a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, I will continue working with my state and federal partners to ensure Red Hill’s safe and timely defueling and permanent closure.”
The repacking process is projected to take several days and involves filling the pipelines to remove air and ensure a stable flow of fuel during the defueling of the main underground storage tanks. The defueling of the main tanks is expected to begin in October 2023.
As a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee and Chair of the Armed Services Subcommittee on Readiness and Management Support, Senator Hirono has worked closely with DOD leadership, community leaders in Hawaii, and her Senate colleagues to help ensure the safe and timely defueling and closure of Red Hill. In July, Senator Hirono joined the Hawaii delegation in introducing the Red Hill Impact Act, bipartisan legislation to collect data, study, and help better understand the long-term health impacts of those exposed to water contamination from the Red Hill fuel leak. Earlier this year, Senator Hirono questioned U.S. Navy and Marine Corps leaders on enhancing accountability after the Red Hill fuel leaks and investing in military infrastructure during a full committee hearing. In December 2022, she joined the Hawaii delegation in calling for congressionally-initiated independent investigation into how DOD and the Navy responded to PFAS-based contamination events at Red Hill. Last year, Senator Hirono secured $1 billion in the FY23 National Defense Authorization Act for defueling and closing Red Hill.