WASHINGTON – U.S. Senators Mazie K. Hirono (D-Hawaii) and Brian Schatz (D-Hawaii) and U.S. Representatives Ed Case (D-Hawaii) and Kaiali‘i Kahele (D-Hawaii) released the following statement applauding the Department of Defense Inspector General (DOD IG) for announcing their intent to open an evaluation into the operation, maintenance, safety, and oversight of the Navy's Red Hill bulk fuel storage facility later this month following multiple requests from the delegation:
“Recent events have called into question the Navy’s operations of the Red Hill facility and their ability to ensure the safety of water provided to Hawaii’s military families and Oahu residents. It is critical that the military restore safe drinking water immediately. We also need answers. We applaud the Department of Defense Inspector General for opening this evaluation. The IG’s findings will be critical to determining the future of Red Hill.”
On November 3, the delegation called for the DOD IG to determine whether the Navy properly investigated recent fuel releases and notified state health officials in a timely manner, and whether the Navy delayed investigation or notification in an attempt to secure a permit to operate Red Hill.
On December 6, the delegation further requested the IG conduct a more comprehensive, holistic evaluation to assess the overall safety of the Red Hill Bulk Fuel Storage Facility. The delegation sent the request following a troubling series of safety hazards at Red Hill, including most recently, reports of petroleum detected in the water at Red Hill elementary school and confirmed petroleum contamination in drinking water months ago.