US military to appeal Hawaii order to dump fuel tanks | National policy

HONOLULU (AP) — A senior U.S. military official said Monday the Department of Defense will appeal Hawaii’s order to drain fuel from a massive tank farm that leaked oil into the system. Navy water and contaminated Pearl Harbor tap water.

Even so, Deputy Secretary of Defense Kathleen Hicks said in a statement that the military was continuing to take action “consistent” with Hawaii’s order to empty the tanks at the fuel storage facility in bulk from Red Hill.

Hicks said the Army will meet Hawaii’s Wednesday deadline to submit a work plan and implementation schedule for an independent third-party review. Hawaii’s order says the navy must empty the tanks and can’t use them again until it shows it can do so safely.

Hicks’ statement said the department plans to file appeals in state and federal courts by Wednesday. She did not elaborate on specific reasons for the decision, but said, “It will give us time to make evidence-based and transparent decisions.”

Hawaii’s deputy director of environmental health, Kathleen Ho, said she was disappointed with the decision and would fight in court to force the Navy to secure Red Hill.

“The Navy has committed to Congress and in multiple public forums to comply with the emergency order,” Ho said in a statement. “Today’s announcement that they intend to appeal the emergency order is another breach of trust between the Navy and the people of Hawaii.”

Ho said the state’s order will remain in effect pending the appeal process.

US Senator Brian Schatz of Hawaii said the military “made a serious, unforced error that undermines public trust”.

“Fortunately, we have civilian military oversight, and this inexplicable and infuriating resistance to the dump fuel order will not succeed. They will lose in court and they will lose in Congress,” Schatz said in a statement.

Separately, Hicks said the Army is working to analyze the distribution of its fuel reserves in the Pacific. She said it would be completed within 60 days to allow the Secretary of Defense to decide what to do about Red Hill “moving forward”.

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