Congressional delegation tours Red Hill
US Senator Mazie K. Hirono (D-HI) and Senate Armed Services Committee Chairman, Jack Reed (D-RI), toured Red Hill as part of a week-long congressional delegation trip highlighting Hawaiʻi’s strategic importance to the US military.
Sen. Hirono, who is a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, met with Servicemembers at Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam as part of the tour.
During the tour, the delegation received an update on the Department of Defense’s plans for the closure of Red Hill from senior military leaders.
“The Red Hill crisis has been deeply challenging for communities on Oʻahu, and ensuring the safe and efficient defueling and closure of Red Hill is of the utmost importance,” said Senator Hirono said in a press release update. “As a member of the Armed Services Committee, I have fought hard to make sure this is a priority for Defense Department leadership, the Biden Administration, and my colleagues on the Committee. I’m grateful for Chairman Reed’s support on this important issue, and I’m glad he was able to see the Red Hill facility for himself. I look forward to our continued partnership as we work to oversee the closure of Red Hill and develop a fuel storage strategy that meets our national security needs.”
Chair Reed said he supports Secretary Austin’s decision to close Red Hill to ensure clean, safe drinking water with a more concerted focus on a distributed and resilient fuel laydown for forces in the Pacific. “This decision not only advances public health but strategic objectives as well. We will work to ensure closure and remediation is executed effectively on a timeline that assures high levels of DOD readiness,” said Chair Reed.
This tour is the latest step Senator Hirono is taking to prioritize the Red Hill crisis for her colleagues on the Armed Services Committee and military leadership. During a SASC hearing last week, she questioned Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin about next steps for fuel storage and environmental remediation at Red Hill.
In addition to the Red Hill tour, the delegation visit will include stops at military installations throughout Hawaiʻi and meetings with senior military leadership for the Pacific region.
In December, the DoD IG announced their intent to open an investigation into the Navy’s ability to safely operate Red Hill.
In March, the Secretary of Defense announced a decision to defuel and permanently close the Red Hill bulk fuel storage facility.