Military refuses to release video of toxic spill at Red Hill, sowing new concern
HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - The state Health Department is demanding that the military release video of the latest spill at the Red Hill fuel facility.
Last week, military leaders said there was no video of the toxic spill of firefighting foam concentrate.
But officials later corrected that, saying there was actually video.
But the military says it won’t release the closed circuit video because it “may impact the integrity of the investigation.” Instead, military officials say they’ll allow the state Health Department regulators to see the video without sharing a copy.
The Health Department, in response, said it’s imperative that the Joint Task Force on Red Hill makes the video available to the public as soon as possible in the “interest of honesty and transparency.”
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Wayne Tanaka, director of the Sierra Club of Hawaii, called the military’s decision “ludicrous.”
“This just isn’t a matter of transparency or even after the fact investigation, this is a matter of saving lives,” he said.
Kat McClanahan, former Pearl Harbor resident, worries about the impact of the toxic concentrate on the environment ― and says the military should release the video to clear up doubt.
“I’m scared that they are hiding something, that something else is going on,” she said.
Gary Gill was deputy director of environmental health for nine years at the state Health Department under two governors. The Navy’s 27,000-gallon fuel spill from Red Hill happened in 2014 during his tenure.
“With a facility as complex as Red Hill and as old as Red Hill you can just assume there’s going to be a continual number of these events,” said Gill.
In 2013, Gill saw naphthalene ― a chemical in gasoline ― detected in the Navy’s monitoring well just 20 feet from the Red Hill drinking water shaft. The military dismissed it, he said.
“I think the Navy’s chain of command and their mission, they are there to be ready for war,” said Gill.
“They don’t really have the resources or the imperative to manage these environmental issues,” he added.
State Sen. Donna Mercado Kim is organizing a town hall for Monday at 6 p.m. to discuss the issue.
The event will be held at Moanalua Middle School. The senator says the military will attend.
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