Senator slams Red Hill agreement, Gov. says ‘meh’

State senator Laura Thielen says she is disappointed in the Red Hill agreement reached with the Navy today.

News Report
Hawaii Independent Staff

Senator Laura Thielen deems Honolulu’s drinking water to be at continued contamination risk even after the Navy and the state struck an agreement today concerning leaks from fuel tanks at the Red Hill facility.

Thielen expressed dissatisfaction in the final agreement with the U.S. Navy and the Defense Logistics Agency, which the senator says does not take more substantial and timely action to minimize the threat of future leaks at the Red Hill Bulk Fuel Storage Facility.

“It appears the state did not substantially alter the agreement with the Navy, which is extremely disappointing,” said Thielen in a press release. “The Navy is not being held to upgrading the tanks to the best available technology, which is double lining. Moreover, the Navy is still being allowed more than 20 years to upgrade the 70-plus year old tanks, which means we continue to place one of our largest drinking water sources for Honolulu at risk for contamination with deadly chemicals for the next two decades.”

Governor Ige also released a statement today, saying that “The state will be safer and better off with this agreement than it would be without it. We listened carefully to the concerns of stakeholders whose input has strengthened the administrative order. This is the start of long-overdue action to make Hawaii safer. It will increase transparency and is the best mechanism for holding the Navy accountable. The agreement will provide the framework for the state to address concerns about the safety of drinking water for our keiki and their families.” 

But Thielen was critical of the administration as well. “I am disappointed that the Administration ignored the primary public comments which sought stronger protection of our public aquifer, including recommendations from the Commission of Water Resource Management and the Honolulu Board of Water Supply,” she said.