Rep. Bob McDermott says Ige Lacks Authority on Red Hill
News Release from Office of Rep Bob McDermott, January 27, 2022
It's been 8 months with minimal (at best) progress in a complete shutdown of the Red Hill facility. To date, the best we have gotten is "support in favor of defueling." Which was echoed again today in an interview with Governor David Ige. Defueling is not the solution to saving our aquifer, it's only the solution to saving political careers. I advocate an absolute Decommissioning of Red Hill within 12 months, a closure ASAP.
Defueling is not a complete shutdown nor Decommissioning. It is simply a mechanism to fix challenges and buy time. All our elected officials are hiding behind this State of Hawaii defueling order, particularly those who have direct authority and responsibility for Federal matters, our Congressional delegation.
The State of Hawaii is in a tough spot. The facility, built in 1942, is "grandfathered" and exempt from any EPA rules or compliance. Second, it is Federal property on Federal land under Federal jurisdiction. Therefore, the state can ask nicely, and the Navy will try, but not obligated to follow the State law or Administrative rules for that matter. In this dangerous world, with China on the move, it will require a herculean bi-partisan effort with credibility to shut this down.
In short, our congressional delegation has failed to make the case to the President, his Secretary of Defense or the Secretary of the Navy. They have been eerily quiet, particularly our Senators. What good is a united delegation when they can’t even convince the head of their own Party to shut it down? We need a bi-partisan effort to accomplish this Decommissioning.
The Navy is “going along” with this effort as they do with most State requests to be a “good neighbor.” But legally, they are not required to follow State statutes regarding Red Hill. This Shibai is being facilitated by compliant politicians that will not state the facts that the Majority Party (Democrats) control the fate of Red Hill.