Shut Down Red Hill

What is Red Hill?

The Red Hill Bulk Fuel Storage Facility, located on the island of Oʻahu, was proposed in June 1940, and construction commenced before the U.S. entered World War II.  It consists of 20, single walled, steel-lined tanks built into Kapūkakī (Red Hill).  The tanks currently hold more than 100 million gallons of fuel, and they have been deteriorating. In fact, according to the Sierra Club, in September 2018 “sample testing by the Navy reveals that the fuel storage tanks at Red Hill are in much worse condition than predicted, showing far more corrosion and thinning than the Navy previously assumed. Originally constructed with quarter-inch thick steel, today these massive fuels tank’s walls are less than an eighth of an inch thick in some places.”  Since they are single walled, there is no secondary containment for the fuel in case of cracks or corrosion. 

Why is it a Concern?

In 2014, 2020, and 2021, a total of almost 60,000 gallons of fuel leaked into the area around the Fuel Storage Facility. The latest fuel spill in November 2021 contaminated the drinking water of thousands of homes at Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam and nearby Kapilina Beach Homes, which house a mix of military and non-military families. Nearly 93,000 people were affected by this spill.  Some had to relocate to temporary housing for nearly 6 months, and some are still suffering health impacts. While military families have access to free health care through the federally funded Tricare health insurance and care system, non-military families currently have to rely on their own insurance and health care providers to address acute and continuing health problems.

What Needs to Be Done

Shut it down and defuel the tanks as quickly as possible! The people of Hawaiʻi have spoken, and, despite the resistance of the Navy, the Secretary of Defense eventually ordered the closure of the facility. However, the facility needs hundreds of repairs to safely drain the tanks. The longer this takes, the greater the risk for the people and environment of Hawaiʻi. Caring for the land and water around us is part of our human sacred trust.  So is caring for each other — love of God, love of neighbor.  As people of faith we urge our President and the Secretary of the Navy to press for a faster and more transparent process, including the following actions:  

How You Can Help

Individually, or preferably as a congregation, call or send a letter to President Joe Biden and/or Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin. A template of the letter, one addressed to President Biden's office and the other to Secretary Austin, is linked below, using the first-person plural for churches or other faith groups to sign on to. Include your mailing address as the return address, use the current date, and either mail it with the original message or write your own message, especially if you wish to send your own personal message, letting our leaders know how important it is that the military address the extreme risk this facility poses to the life and health of our island communities.

Letter to President Biden

(download and make your own copy to edit)

Phone Number: (202) 456-1111

Letter to Secretary Austin

(download and make your own copy to edit)

Phone Number: (703) 571-3343

Sierra Club, Hawaiʻi Chapter: Red Hill Advocacy and Action page